BEIJING China’s parliament passed a controversial law governing foreign non-government organisations, Xinhua state news agency said on Thursday, giving wide powers to the domestic security authority and prompting criticism from Amnesty International.
The law is part of a raft of legislation, including China’s counterterrorism law and a draft cyber security law, put forward amid a renewed crackdown on dissent by President Xi Jinping’s administration.
The law, which is set to come into effect on Jan. 1, grants broad powers to police to question NGO workers, monitor their finances, shut down offices and regulate their work.
Earlier drafts of the law had faced criticism from NGOs and foreign governments, which said it was too vague in its definition of what constituted actions that harmed China’s national interests and could harm the operations of social and environmental advocacy groups, besides business organisations and academia.
That ambiguity largely remained in the final version of the law, and officials who briefed reporters on the implications of the law on Thursday would not provide specific examples of actions by NGOs that constituted such violations.
“If there are a few foreign NGOs, holding high the banner of cooperation and exchange, coming to engage in illegal activities or even committing criminal acts, our Ministry of Public