China Passes Law Clamping Down on NGOs



Photo by Wesley Fryer

Last April, China passed a law clamping down on NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations). This is so the government could start having more oversight in these organizations that started on January 1 of this year. Part of it, is an effort to keep Western influence out of China.

Per The New York Times, “China took a major step on Thursday in President Xi Jinping’s drive to impose greater control and limit Western influences on Chinese society, as it passed a new law restricting the work of foreign organizations and their local partners, mainly through police supervision.”

The problem is that the police will have the ultimate power to shut-down Non-Governmental Organizations. This will depend on whether the police feel the NGO is going against the government.

The Guardian reports, “Criminal measures will be taken against any individual who is directly responsible for a foreign NGO found to have engaged in activities that ‘split the country or damage national unity or subvert the state.’”

There are plenty of foreign NGOs that were functioning in China before the laws passed without any governmental regulation or being registered with the state.

The Wall Street Journal explains, “International non-government organizations (INGOs) have been operating in China in increasing numbers in recent years. Now China has adopted a new law to regulate them. Until now there have been no uniform rules regulating these organizations, and many that are presently active were not registered and have also been operating without offices or permanent staff based in China.”

With these laws, these foreign NGOs will be in trouble with the government if the refuse to register.

The New York Time states, “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. Foreign groups fear that Chinese organizations will not want to take the risk.”

Despite the government trying to reassure people that it will improve the way NGOs run in China, critics see it as a human right violation worst then the Tiananmen Square crackdown on protestors.

The Guardian explains, “However, critics claim the law is a pretext to expanding the clampdown on Chinese civil society that many observers say is the most severe since the days following the 1989 military offensive against Tiananmen protesters.”

Christian NGOs are trying to figure out what this means for their ministry in China. One such ministry, is Bibles For China, which seeks to provide Bibles to rural area Christians.

Bibles For China states, “Bibles For China President Wendell Rovenstine says, even under the new regulations, he doesn’t think they’ll shut down their efforts to resource the local rural Church with Bibles.”

Pray for Chinese NGOs that they would be able to get used to this fairly new law and  Bibles For China to be able to continue to distribute Bibles in rural regions.

New York Times: Clampdown in China Restricts 7,000 Foreign Organizations

The Guardian: China passes law imposing security controls on foreign NGOs

The Wall Street Journal: China’s New Law on International NGOs – And Questions about Legal Reform

MNN: China: how will NGO law impact ministries?




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