Magazine article New Internationalist

Activist Alarm at Foreign NGO Law

Magazine article New Internationalist

Activist Alarm at Foreign NGO Law

Article excerpt

CHINA

Beijing has passed a controversial new law targeting foreign NGOs.

Due to come into effect in 2017, it promises to 'regulate and guide' their activities. What this really means is that international groups - which, until now, have enjoyed relative freedom to operate in a legal grey area - will fall under the watchful gaze of the Ministry of Public Security. A nd China's police will be able to detain NGO staff legally on vague charges such as 'creating rumours'.

'Chinese authorities are anxious about the idea of a "colour revolution" [the name given to the peaceful uprisings in the former Soviet Union],' explains the head of a Chinese grassroots NGO, who asked to remain anonymous. 'The government has always distrusted foreign NGOs - after this new law is implemented, they will suffer an unprecedented impact.' Many fear that the move will exert a further chilling effect on China's own civil-society groups, many of whom rely on foreign support. …

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