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Xi's China
China Passes Russian-Inspired Anti-NGO Law

China placed tough restrictions on foreign NGOs on Thursday, drawing condemnation from the international human rights community. Reuters:

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 organizations 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.

Beijing is following in the footsteps of Moscow here, which passed its notorious “foreign agents” law in 2012. Putin and his mafia state have been using the laws to great effect since then to stifle criticism. Similarly, last week, the head of Russia’s Central Intelligence Committee ruffled the feathers of Russia’s beleaguered liberals by suggesting Moscow learn from and adopt China’s robust controls on the internet.

Authoritarians have picked up a thing or two from the very civil society organizations they are seeking to repress: they are learning to share “best practices” among themselves. How much longer until we have a proper global conference springing up, where the ruling elites of leading “sovereign democracies” like Syria, Venezuela, China, Iran and Russia can get together, properly network, and share ideas in earnest?

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  • qet

    Just because bad people do it doesn’t make it a bad idea. Hitler was a vegetarian, remember. NGOs haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory lately, especially vis-a-vis the Israeli-Palestinian thing. I already have plenty of reasons to criticize Putin and China, so I don’t think I’ll be needing to add this to the list.

  • rheddles

    How much longer until we have a proper global conference springing up, where the ruling elites of leading “sovereign democracies” like Syria, Venezuela, China, Iran and Russia can get together, properly network, and share ideas in earnest?

    Why duplicate the UN?

    • qet

      Score!

  • Anthony

    The following is unrelated but not less relevant: Our national Paper today ran this headline”Will the Gutless Please Just Put Down Their Digital Weapons.” The gist of article beneath headline is that “trolls hide behind screens” to make comments they would not dare to make off-line or face-to-face – food for thought perhaps. I know this has nothing to do with China/Russia directly but yet ties into world-wide internet usage.

    • Jim__L

      There is some irony that this comment is hidden away on an unrelated thread.

      • Anthony

        Young man, no irony just common sense. I posted to most current TAI listing (at time of post) to perhaps receive fresh attention. Now, stop pestering me (as I informed you, I am trying to avoid Links).

        • Jim__L

          Your links are often (but maybe not always) informative and relevant, and many times that I’ve clicked them I have found them rewarding.

          My request was that they come with a relevant descriptive caption, so I could decide what to make of them before clicking on them.

          Despite our disagreements — Thank you for posting here, when we can understand what you’re talking about it can bring a great deal to the discussion.

          • Anthony

            There’s no disagreement; we lean differently; the understandings are external; links are always related to your replies (caption request a little much but we’ll see). Thanks for contribution.

  • Dhako

    Good on China, for these Western NGOs are nothing but a politically-well-camouflaged “Trojan Horses” out to do China no good at all, at least in political terrain.

    Moreover its obvious that once the western powers have realized – rather late in the day – that they can’t compete against China, economically; or compete against her in terms of Geo-Economical influence in the wider world (particularly when it comes to dragooning the rest of the world against China in the manner these western’s powers have done against the then USSR) it seems then that their preferred “method of operation” has been decided to be centered on in using these western’s NGOs as a “subversion outfits” trying their sneakily covered dissension within China.

    And of course, all these subversive activities by these western’s NGOs will still be attempted by these outfits while at the same time witnessing these same organisations protesting their innocence and for good measure lauding their “two-goody-shoes-humanitarianism” at the behest for the Chinese citizens.

    Subsequently in my opinion the sooner these western’s outfits are actively proscribed (or at least are told what areas of social policies are out of bound for them) the better the Chinese state can get a handle on them.

    • Jim__L

      The problem is in looking at this from the point of view of organizations, rather than the point of view of individual people and individual interactions.

      Once you reduce everything to pieces on a gameboard, some labelled “NGO” and some labelled “government”, you lose a lot of this relevant information.

      The State can’t be everything to everyone. It needs Civil Society, in which people look after their own interests to function, singly and in voluntary combinations. NGOs are a part of that.

      Otherwise, the State is responsible for everything. The problem with this is twofold. First, the state cannot be competent at everything. (See China’s dynastic cycle, which is now most of a century into the Communist Dynasty). Second, any responsible party will attempt to gain authority over that for which it is responsible — responsibility and authority go hand-in-hand, after all — and so will naturally push towards tyranny.
      The solution is Subsidiarity, where decisions are made at the lowest possible level — where authorities do not grab power that is not properly theirs. When NGOs do good in “retail”, according to the resources that are properly theirs, each and every one of those individual interactions is a benefit to the Public Good. The Public Good trumps the State every time.

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