It just got a little harder — again — to try to do good in China. On Thursday, China's Congress passed a controversial new law imposing stricter regulations on non-Chinese NGOs operating inside the country, according to Xinhua.
Starting in 2017, the new law will put foreign NGOs under the Public Security Bureau's supervision instead of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, which currently oversees them. Foreign NGOs will face tighter control and supervision of their daily activities and finances.
Even prior to the law's passage, the climate hasn't been great for NGOs in China. In January, a Swedish activist "confessed" on China's state television CCTV to charges of damaging national security with his NGO's support of local rights lawyers.
The Overseas NGO Management Law has raised widespread concern among international organizations and politicians:
The new law is viewed as part of a series of campaigns cracking down on any perceived threat against the Communist Party. Just two weeks ago, Chinese women were warned not to fall in "dangerous love" with foreign men – they might be spies:
In the same vein is China's new foreign media ban, which was said to go into effect in March. (But people are still puzzled over the actual effect the law's had.)
For a police force that's busy monitoring conversations and activities of people including journalists, dissidents, protesters on a 24/7 basis both on and offline, it remains unclear how much they'll cope with 7,000 more organizations to look after.
The police will be now entitled even greater a power to scrutinize their operations: overseas NGOs will be required to have the endorsement of a local organizations; an organization will be forced to shut down if it doesn't receive official approval to operate in the country.
But China is not alone in cracking down on outside influences. Powerful nations such as Russia and India are reportedly using similar tactics in limiting overseas NGOs to step up the state's powers.
Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.