CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 10 November 2018

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China postpones controversial law

HONG KONG (SE): Although it was anticipated that China’s controversial new bill on the operation of non-government organisations (NGO) would be passed during the National People’s Congress in March, Reuters reported on March 4 that a spokesperson told the media that more time was need to revise the draft law.

Speaking prior to the opening of the congress, Fu Ying said that despite the international criticism of the proposed law, it is necessary and she defended the law.

“But we still have to deal with various recommendations and opinions in order to revise this law well,” Fu said.

A particularly controversial segment of the law from an international perspective is a ban on receiving money from overseas, as well as the need for a local organisation as a sponsor, which is government backed. This gives broad latitude to the police to regulate both activities and funding.

This is of concern to local Church-run NGOs as well, because although they may not rely heavily on money from overseas, do have need of partnerships in terms of improving expertise and for relief work in times of emergency.

But at a meeting sponsored by Caritas in The Philippines during February, delegates from Catholic NGOs in China reported that they believe that they have been given a bit more latitude of recent times and for the first time were not hassled over their attendance at the gathering.

 

The law is coming during a time of a massive government crackdown on all forms of dissent and at a time when it is particularly sensitive to all forms of foreign influence.

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