China’s Communist-controlled legislature passed a law imposing new regulations on foreign non-government organisations on Thursday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The measure has provoked an outcry from charities and concerns from foreign governments that it gives wide-ranging discretionary powers to police amid a crackdown on civil society in the country.

The full text was not immediately available, but a draft of the bill described by Xinhua in a report earlier this week carried many provisions which previously triggered concerns.

NPC chambers in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing. Photo: China Daily.

It covers foreign charities, business associations, academic institutions and others in China, and requires them to “partner” with a Chinese government-controlled agency and report their actions to authorities.

Chinese police would have the right to cancel any activities they judged a threat to national security, and would be empowered to “invite for talks” the heads of foreign NGOs in China, Xinhua said.

It added police could add any foreign NGO they judged to promote “subversion of state power” or “separatism” to a “not welcome list”, which would ban them from the country.

Overseas NGOs would also be forbidden from recruiting “members” in mainland China, Xinhua said, barring special permission from the State Council, China’s cabinet. It was not specified whether that included local staff.

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