New law will benefit NGOs from overseas

Updated: 2015-07-28 09:36

(China Daily)

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A law governing the activities of non-government organizations from overseas is in the making. But it does not mean more restrictions on such NGOs in China. Guo Shengkun, minister of public security, delivered this message at a forum on overseas NGOs in Shanghai on Saturday.

He told the representatives of some foreign NGOs attending the forum, which was organized by the ministries of foreign affairs, public security and civil affairs, that the active role played by overseas NGOs has long been appreciated, and more convenience and a better service will be provided for them in the near future.

However, some foreign media outlets see the introduction of such a law as an inauspicious sign signaling that China is narrowing the space in which foreign NGOs can operate, and some have even cast doubts on whether the country remains on its track of opening up.

Such worries are understandable, but unnecessary.

China has benefited considerably from its opening up since the early 1980s. It would never be what it is now without its ever-increasing cooperation with the outside world.

It is impossible for this country, which has deeply integrated with the world in many ways, to reverse course by closing its door to the outside world unless it wants no development and progress.

Yet opening its door wider to cooperation with foreign countries or organizations cannot conflict with the rule of law.

Further opening up does not mean that the Chinese authorities will allow NGOs from overseas to do whatever they want without doing anything to regulate their activities. Neither does it mean that activities that sabotage or threaten national security will be tolerated.

Thousands of overseas NGOs are operating in China, and they have made many contributions to its economic development and social progress. The government and people have learned a great deal from them about how the potential of social organizations can be realized if they are well organized and encourage the participation of people from all walks of life.

The law on governing overseas NGOs has completed its solicitation of public opinions prior to its second reading and if adopted it will hopefully better facilitate the activities of overseas NGOs.

We are sure that any overseas NGO that is committed to promoting China's progress will welcome this further building of the rule of law.