The Ministry of Civil Affairs has launched an audit of the American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham China), the Australian China Chamber of Commerce (Austcham China) and over 200 other groups “as part of an effort to check on social organizations in the country”, according to Global Times.
The audits won’t only be for financials; they will include regulatory compliance and “other activities”. Global Times gave an example: inspectors will also check if the “theme and content of events hosted by the organizations were in line with its charter rules and areas of business”.
To be clear, AmCham China is not the same as AmCham South China, which is based in Guangzhou and also has an office in Shenzhen. AmCham South China’s president, Harley Seyedin, told us today that he didn’t believe this was anything more than a routine check.
“This is a routine audit in Beijing that involves a couple of foreign chambers each year. Our American Chamber of Commerce in South China retains a top four international accounting firm each year to audit its books voluntarily and therefore an audit by any agency will be a routine procedure.”
Global Times may indeed be reading too much into this. But then again, it may not be. Read more.