EU ambassador to China expresses concern over new NGO law

The European Union's ambassador to China expressed concern Wednesday over a new Chinese law that regulates foreign non-governmental organisations and hoped its enforcement won't affect the operations of these nonprofits in the country.

Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, who was asked at a press conference about the law, in effect since Jan 1 and that mandates all foreign nonprofits to have a Chinese partner and to be registered with the police, said many NGOs were facing difficulties in finding local partners, and hoped these concerns will be addressed over time.

Schweisgut added the European bloc had communicated its reservations over the law to Beijing during the drafting process but they were largely ignored.

Around 30 foreign nonprofits, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, received the first such permits to continue working in China under the new norm, official media reported.

Schweisgut also said the EU will continue to voice its concern whenever it feels human rights are being violated in China, following a controversy over alleged abuse faced by lawyer Xie Yang during his detention, pending a trial.

"As long as the NGOs respect Chinese laws and regulations we will ensure favourable and an enabling environment and working conditions," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, responding to Schweisgut's remarks.