Readout of National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice’s Meeting with Civil Society Leaders on China’s Draft Foreign NGO Law
National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice met today with leaders and representatives of civil society organizations to discuss the potential impact of China’s draft foreign non-governmental organization (NGO) law on international NGOs and civil society in China. Today’s discussion focused on concerns that the draft legislation would further narrow space for civil society in China, hamper the ability of international and Chinese domestic civil society organizations to provide support and services to the Chinese people, and constrain U.S.-China people-to-people exchanges. The participants, whose organizations have operated in China for many years, highlighted concerns about the onerous registration and reporting requirements contained in the draft legislation, as well as the broad powers conferred on the Chinese public security bureau to manage the foreign NGO sector. Ambassador Rice reiterated the United States’ concern about the draft legislation and affirmed the Administration’s strong support for civil society in China and around the world. She noted the critical role that civil society organizations have played in China’s progress during its reform and opening period and underscored that a vibrant civil society is a cornerstone of prosperous and stable societies.