The Obama administration has rightly complained about a new law that China has passed with respect to foreign NGOs (non-government organizations). According to the Associated Press, the new law subjects NGOs, inter alia,
“to closer financial scrutiny, requiring that they submit annual reports detailing their sources of financing, spending activities and changes in personnel.”
While the law was passed at the end of April, Secretaries John Kerry and Jacob Lew mentioned the law again in their recent visit to China.
The purpose of the law is pretty obvious: To subject foreign NGOs to more government scrutiny and to make it harder for them to do things the government doesn’t like. In particular, if financing sources have to be identified, some of those sources may stop contributing to NGOs. They may decide it’s not worth jeopardizing their business or other interests in China to do so. If NGOs have less money, they can do less to help people in China – and they cause less trouble for a Chinese government that is becoming more hostile to dissent and disagreement.