NGOs in China fear clampdown as Xi Jinping plans new security controls

Proposed new law could lead to harassment and arrest of local workers, restrictions or expulsion for foreigners, and funding difficulties

By Simon Denyer for the Washington Post

The Guardian

China’s state security apparatus has turned its sights on foreign NGOs and their domestic partners, which are bracing for a crackdown.

A new law emanating from President Xi Jinping’s national security commission that would regulate overseas NGOs has raised alarm among people working in China to fight discrimination, improve health and education, or stick up for workers’ rights.

Viewed under the draft law less as partners of the government and more as a security risk, local advocates fear harassment and arrest; foreigners fear anything from restrictions on their activities to expulsion. A copy of the draft, which has not been released for public comment, was obtained by the Washington Post.

China’s crackdown on civil society is driven partly by Xi’s obsession with control but also by fear that foreigners are secretly plotting to overthrow China’s one-party state. It is also partly inspired by similar moves in Russia under President Vladimir Putin.

“Chinese leaders argue that the ultimate goal of western governments is to use their NGOs to orchestrate the collapse of the Chinese Communist party,” said Julia Famularo, a research affiliate at the Project 2049 Institute, an Arlington, Virginia-based thinktank. “Leaders in Beijing and Moscow will do whatever it takes to prevent potential colour revolutions from undermining social stability and threatening regime longevity.”

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1 comment

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