A Chinese government offensive against civil society that campaigners describe as the worst in nearly three decades has intensified with Beijing’s approval on Thursday of a controversial new law that gives security forces control over foreign NGOs operating in the country.
Campaigners attacked the move as the latest phase of President Xi Jinping’s bid to rein in opposition to the Communist party. They said it represented a severe blow to non-profit groups involved in issues such as the environment, public health and education, as well as human rights.
Lu Jun, a well-known social activist who was forced to move to the US last year after his organisation was targeted by law enforcement, described the decision to give greater powers to police as a disaster.
“The real purpose of the foreign NGO law is to restrict foreign NGOs’ activities in China and to restrict domestic-rights NGOs’ activities in China by cutting the connection between [the two],” he said.
Lu, whose group, Yirenping, has campaigned on health and employment issues, claimed Beijing was attempting to use the new legislation to neutralise foreign-supported groups that it suspected were attempting to destabilise the government. “They consider foreign NGOs and some domestic NGOs as a threat to their regime,” he said.
Credit to theguardian.com