Government & Military

Hao Yunhong

The security czar holding the Sword of Damocles over foreign NGOs.

Director, Ministry of Public Security Foreign NGO Management Office

The Chinese Communist Party, deeply concerned with maintaining control, has long viewed civil society and foreign influence with suspicion. That’s made NGOs a prime target. A new law passed in 2016 has riled the U.S. international nonprofit sector with its vague restrictions and ominous requirement that foreign NGOs in China register with the Public Security Bureau, rather than the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Hao Yunhong is now charged with implementing the widely feared law, which came into effect Jan. 1, 2017. That means as many as 7,000 affected foreign organizations in China will be looking to him for guidance, knowing full well the decisions he makes could mean the end of their China operations.

Even now, how the new rules will actually affect foreign NGOs remains unclear — and that’s part of the problem. The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern that the law’s “excessively broad and vague provisions” could “be wielded as tools to intimidate, and even suppress, dissenting views and opinions.” Optimists retain hope that the law will be implemented gently, but judging from Hao’s statement that some foreign NGOs can “harm China’s national security interests,” the outlook isn’t heartening.

(Photo credit: Ng Han Guan/AP)

Next: He Fani|i Government & Military