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China learns from India, passes law to restrict foreign NGOs

China has passed a law that enables it to tighten its grip on foreign NGOs which have often been accused of meddling in its domestic affairs.

The Foreign NGO Management Law was passed on Thursday by the National People's Congress (NPC).

According to Xinhua news agency, the law was passed by the NPC's Standing Committee, which acts for Parliament when the latter is not in session.

The law, likely to be implemented from 1 January, 2017, restricts foreign NGOs from raising funds in China.

It also makes it mandatory for them to register with China's security agencies.

Besides, any foreign NGO can be barred from operating in China for five years if found violating the rules.

Proposed around two years ago, the law has been described as draconian by overseas NGOS operating in China.

The Chinese government is said to be worried over growing dissidence in the country.

"In general, China encourages the development of domestic NGOs and the exchanges between them and their foreign counterparts (through such laws), while it wishes to handle some organisations and activities in a more careful manner," Global Times quoted He Lijun, a New York-based professor on public administration at Pace University, as saying.

In an interview to IANS this month, Chinese lawmaker Hu Zhengyue had said that foreign NGOs were often used by Western countries to interfere in the domestic affairs of developing nations.

He also likened the Chinese scenario to that of India, saying the two countries had something in common in regulating NGOs.

The Indian government had come under attack from civil society for cancelling the license of some 9,000 foreign charities.

"The Chinese government has no problem as long as their (NGOs) work is proper, legal and beneficial. The law is to promote healthy development of NGOs," Hu had told IANS

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