China Wrestles With Draft Law on Nongovernmental Organizations

BEIJING — It has been more than two years since the Chinese government proposed tighter controls on foreign nongovernmental organizations, prompting fears for the future of a wide range of groups active in China, like medical charities, branches of foreign universities and business chambers. Among their concerns are the prospect of requirements to obtain government sponsors and police approval of projects and restrictions on fund-raising.

Yet two drafts later, a “Foreign NGO Management Law” still has not passed, raising questions about whether the national security-driven legislation could crimp international cooperation in areas the government cares about — such as education, industry and the environment — as it seeks to expand the economy in new ways.

Few people expect the law to be dropped entirely. Zhang Dejiang, the head of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, appeared to rule that out on Wednesday, saying it was among “the tasks for this year.”

In answer to a request for a comment, the National People’s Congress media office directed queries to an online interview request system. On Friday, a request submitted the previous day was still being processed, the system showed.

Read the full article here