March 25, 2015

"For the Chinese government, we are anti-human and anti-social, and that’s why they assigned the police to supervise us.”

Washington Post China’s state security apparatus has turned its sights on foreign nongovernmental organizations and their domestic partners, which are now bracing for a crackdown. By Simon Denyer

'A new law emanating from President Xi Jinping’s National Security Commission that would regulate overseas NGOs has raised alarm among people who are working here to fight discrimination, improve health or education, or stick up for workers’ rights.

'Viewed under the new draft law less as partners of the government and more as a security risk, local advocates fear harassment and arrest; foreigners fear anything from restrictions on their activities to expulsion. A copy of the draft, which has not been released for public comment, was obtained by The Washington Post.

'China’s ongoing crackdown on civil society is driven partly by Xi’s obsession with control but also by fear that foreigners are secretly plotting to overthrow China’s one-party state. It is also partly inspired by similar moves in Russia under President Vladimir Putin.

'“Chinese leaders argue that the ultimate goal of Western governments is to use their NGOs to orchestrate the collapse of the Chinese Communist Party,” said Julia Famularo of the Project 2049 Institute, an Arlington, Va.-based think tank. “Leaders in Beijing and Moscow will do whatever it takes to prevent potential color revolutions from undermining social stability and threatening regime longevity.”

'The new law was presented to the Standing Committee of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), in December. It aims, according to NPC spokeswoman Fu Ying, to protect the “legitimate interests” of foreign NGOs while safeguarding China’s “national security and social stability.”'

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