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New law in China leaves charities puzzled

HONG KONG (SE): China passed two new regulatory laws this year, one aimed at the operations of charities, both foreign and local, and the other at foreign non-government organisations (NGO), of which there are an estimated 7,000 operating in the country.

While most facets of both laws are not tightly defined or described, two things are abundantly clear; religious and political activity are both banned and the validity of the perception of the state regarding any activity is paramount and safely guarded.

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Draft code lacks penalty system commission says

HONG KONG (SE): With the Labour Department of Hong Kong submitting a Draft Code of Practice for Employment Agencies for public consultation, the Hong Kong Catholic Commission for Labour Affairs believes there should still be a penalty system for substandard service, even though the code is not legally binding.

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Charity law will squeeze human rights work

HONG KONG (SE): The controversial Charities Law was passed by the National People’s Congress in China on March 16 and is set to take effect on September 1.

The law will restrict the ability of groups to raise money to government-approved charities and their proposed activities for the coming year must receive government approval.

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Cultural shift in charitable work is needed not just money

HONG KONG (SE): Consternation and concern on the part of many people involved with non-government organisations (NGO) in China over a new draft law controlling their activities has stolen the limelight from another draft governing the operation of charities, which has been described as more workable.

Shawn Shieh, a Hong Kong-based expert on Chinese civil society, said that the draft law on NGOs suggests Beijing wants to try to weaken ties between local organisations and foreign funding.

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Foreign fuss over China’s non-government organisation law

BEIJING (UCAN): The United States of America (US), Canada, Germany, Japan and the European Union wrote a letter to the Chinese government in late January calling on Beijing to reconsider a number of new laws, including one on the operation of foreign non-government organisations (NGOs), which they deem to be far too restrictive.

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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.

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Taiwan poll on same-sex marriage flawed

TAIPEI (UCAN): An opinion poll sponsored by the Taiwan Ministry of Justice on granting marriage rights to same-sex attracted couples has drawn thousands of positive responses since it was launched in early August.

However, the organisation of the poll has also been criticised for not being able to canvas popular opinion accurately enough to use as a basis for any type of legislation, let alone something as basic as changing the understanding of marriage.

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More clamps on religious freedom in Asia

HONG KONG (UCAN): The parliament in Naypyidaw, the Union of Myanmar, passed controversial legislation championed by hardline Buddhist nationalists on August 21, raising fears authorities will have new tools to use against already marginalised minority groups.

Members of the parliament said that two proposed bills had been passed; one regulating religious conversions and the other an anti-polygamy bill.

Je Yaw Wu, a representative in the Upper House, confirmed that the parliament had passed the legislation.

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