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China tightens restrictions on NGOs: report

world Updated: Mar 12, 2010 13:10 IST

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Chinese government has tightened restrictions on overseas donations to independent domestic non-governmental organisations in what is being seen as a move to impose more controls on them.

Under regulations that came into effect this month, independent NGOs that accept donations from overseas donors face more scrutiny than ever, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post said in a report.

Now the State Administration of Foreign Exchange is requiring NGOs to meet a new set of conditions, among them the presentation of certificates of registration of the overseas donor organisations abroad and a notarised donation agreement.

Religious groups are also required to obtain approval from the authorities before accepting donations worth more than 1 million yuan, it said. The move has sparked outrage among independent grass-roots NGO workers, who fear it is the latest step by the government to restrict their work, it said.

"Obviously this is targeting funding (from abroad) for independent NGOs," said Wan Yanhai, head of outspoken Aids organisation Aizhixing.

"This gives the government even more control. The new policy is a weapon that targets NGOs, it's a gun in their hand."

The central government increasingly realises the value of NGOs' community work but also distrusts their motives, especially those that receive funding from abroad, he said.