Amnesty International have called for China’s new foreign NGO law to be scrapped. The human rights organisation called the law “fundamentally flawed” on Thursday, stating that it would grant authorities the power to smother civil society.

“The new law will have severe consequences for freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, which are already sharply curtailed under existing laws and policies,” a press release said.

Amnesty said that the law was the latest in a series of vaguely-worded legislation that served to bolster government power under the guise of national security and at a cost to human rights. The statement cites the national security law passed last July, the anti-terrorism law passed last December, and a cyber security law set to pass later this year as evidence of the growing trend.

amnesty china
Photo: Amnesty International.

The controversial NGO law was passed on Thursday amid much controversy and criticism. The law imposes a series of new regulations on foreign non-government organisations ranging from charities and business associations to academic institutions.

The full text of the law was not immediately made available, but it will require organisations to pair with a mainland government-controlled agency and requires them to report their actions to authorities. Police will also be able to cancel activities they believe to be a threat to national security, and allows them to add foreign organisations to lists that could ban them from the country.

Isaac Cheung

Isaac Cheung

Isaac Cheung is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong. During the Occupy Central protests, Isaac worked as an editor and reporter at LIVE: Verified Updates, a bilingual news page founded and maintained by HKU journalism students. He has also worked at Coconuts Hong Kong as a reporter.