PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA: Drop draft law aimed at stifling NGOs

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9 Jun 2015
[International Secretariat]

The Chinese authorities must drop a fundamentally flawed draft NGO law that would put a hold on civil society and have severe consequences for freedom of expression and association in the country, Amnesty International said.

In a submission to China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s Legislative Affairs Commission, Amnesty International highlights major shortcomings in the draft Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations Management Law that would stifle civil society and breach China’s international human rights obligations.

“This chilling draft NGO law is a very real threat to the valuable and legitimate work of independent civil society groups. The authorities would have unchecked power to target organizations, restrict their activities, and ultimately choke civil society,” said William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

The law is the latest in a series of repressive measures by the government to consolidate control. New regulations announced on 30 May, go so far as to require all domestic civil society organizations to have a Communist Party group.

Amnesty International’s full submission on the draft NGO law can be read here. If enacted, the law would:

  • Give police new unchecked powers over foreign NGOs, with the very real risk that the law could be misused to intimidate and prosecute human rights defenders and NGO workers for their legitimate work.
  • Prohibit domestic NGOs from receiving financial support from foreign partners. The ability to receive foreign funding has been recognized by UN human rights bodies as integral to the right to freedom of association.
  • Make independent NGO operations virtually impossible due to the onerous registration process and supervision by the Ministry of Public Security.
  • Allow the authorities to target legitimate NGO activities under the guise of national security, with terms routinely used in politically motivated prosecutions, such as “national and public interest”, “undermining ethnic harmony”, and “endangering state security”.

2 June 2015

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