China legislates strict control of foreign NGOs

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The Chinese government announced that it has passed a strict law aimed at controlling and limiting the work of foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in China and their local partners, mainly through police supervision.

More than 7,000 foreign nongovernmental groups will be affected, according to state news reports. The proposed law caused considerable anxiety among foreign and Chinese nongovernmental organizations here after an early draft began circulating last year.  The most draconian aspect of the earlier drafts remain, despite widespread outcry from foreign groups and governments.

It requires that foreign nongovernmental organizations register with the Ministry of Public Security and allow the police to scrutinize all aspects of their operations, including finances, at any time. In China, where the domestic security apparatus has enormous power, the police could do that anyway, but the law formalizes that.

In addition, such groups must find an official Chinese partner organization. The law does not define what kinds of Chinese groups will be approved partners, and it is unclear how that determination will be made and by whom.

Certain types of nongovernmental organizations–like groups that work with Chinese human rights activists or lawyers–will have little chance of finding an official partner or registering with the police.

Some officials in Beijing have characterized foreign nongovernmental groups as “black hands” working to undermine one-party rule in the country. Those suspicions have grown under President Xi Jinping. Officials have accused such groups of instigating the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong and protests in Tibet, as well as trying to quietly usher Chinese society toward Western ways via what Mao Zedong called a “peaceful evolution.”

[New York Times]

This entry was posted in , by Grant Montgomery.

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