China’s legislature approved a measure Thursday that grants the country’s police broad authority to oversee foreign nonprofits and punish those deemed to threaten national security, reports The Wall Street Journal. The new law, China’s first regulating nonprofit groups, is congruent with President Xi Jinping’s drive to guard Chinese society against foreign influence and promotion of Western-style democracy, the Journal writes.
The measure, which drew quick criticism from the White House, puts China’s Ministry of Public Security in charge of registering international nonprofits, requires such groups to detail how they finance their activities, and authorizes police to search nonprofits’ offices. It provides, for the first time, mechanisms for foreign groups to register and operate legally as nonprofits in the country. Chinese legislators said the law protects the rights of friendly organizations while giving authorities ways to exclude groups that undermine national interests.