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New law creates difficulties for foreign NGOs in China

Friday, May 5, 2017


China's overseas NGO law.


China's first law governing the activities of overseas NGOs affects some 7,000 overseas NGOs that now operate in the country. The law aims to channel the energies and resources of overseas NGOs towards fulfilling state policy objectives while controlling the political risks posed by their presence.


  • The default position of illegality makes this a convenient juncture to screen overseas NGOs and drive out those deemed undesirable.
  • Chinese citizens working with overseas NGOs will come under more scrutiny.
  • Groups working on civil rights, criminal justice, ethnic, labour and gender issues or legal reform may not receive registration.
  • NGOs working on education, conservation, climate change, poverty alleviation, development and health will find registration easier.

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