China's Passage of the Law on the Management of Foreign NGO Activities Inside Mainland China

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 28, 2016

I am deeply concerned that China’s new Law on the Management of Foreign NGO Activities inside Mainland China will negatively impact important people-to-people ties between our two countries and the development of civil society in China. The engagement of U.S. civil society organizations with the people of China has enriched our bilateral relationship. A vibrant civil society is a crucial and growing contributor to development in every country around the globe. Among its benefits, a free and flourishing civil society drives innovation, contributes to stability, and helps to counter violent extremism.

I have discussed these issues routinely with my Chinese counterparts over the past year since the first version of the law was released to the public. The final version of the new law contains certain improvements from the original draft. It also creates a highly uncertain and potentially hostile environment for foreign non-profit, non-governmental organizations and their Chinese partners that will no doubt discourage activities and initiatives.

We urge China to uphold the assurances it has given that it will welcome and foster engagement with civil society, including an active role for non-governmental organizations from other countries.