Clampdown in China Restricts 7,000 Foreign Organizations
The prospect of the new law caused considerable anxiety among foreign and Chinese nongovernment organizations here after an early draft began circulating last year.Countries including the United States began campaigning for Beijing to scrap or drastically change the proposed law. Universities also weighed in, since vague wording in early drafts indicated that educational institutions could be affected. Business associations raised objections as well.
On Thursday afternoon, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, which puts an official stamp on the policies of the Chinese Communist Party, said the law had passed after a review of the third draft that began on Monday. It goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017.
The most draconian aspect of the earlier drafts remained, despite widespread outcry from foreign groups and governments. It requires that foreign nongovernment 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 foreign groups fear that the police will monitor their activities with much greater vigor given this newly formalized authority. The law states that any employee of such a group can be interrogated at any time.
I wonder if the Chinese gov’t considers the Catholic Church an NGO? I mean the real Catholic Church, not the gov’t-sponsored Patriotic Catholic Association.