By James Griffiths and Steven Jiang, CNN
(CNN)China has passed a controversial law imposing new regulations on foreign nongovernmental organizations and charitable groups.
The more than 7,000 foreign NGOs operating in China will have to submit to police supervision and declare their sources of funding.
While Chinese officials say regulation is long overdue in this sector, U.S. officials and human rights groups have criticized the law, saying it amounts to a crackdown on 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,” Amnesty International said.
The U.S. National Security Council urged China to respect the rights and freedoms of all those who make up civil society, including protecting the ability of foreign NGOs to operate in China.
“The United States is deeply concerned that China’s new Law on the Management of Foreign NGO Activities will further narrow space for civil society in China and constrain contact between individuals and organizations in the United States and China,” NSC spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
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Speaking at a press conference, Chinese officials said the law is aimed at “serving while managing” foreign NGOs.
They denied that such groups would be blacklisted, or that certain fields would be off limits, provided they do not endanger Chinese national interests. [FULL STORY]