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China quietly launches probe of foreign non-government outfits: media

China quietly launches probe of foreign non-government outfits: media

6:18am EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has quietly begun a probe into the operations of foreign non-government bodies in the country, to prepare for tighter regulations in future, as part of a security drive ordered by a new national panel headed by President Xi Jinping.

Non-government organizations have mushroomed in China in recent years, and can have a confrontational relationship with the government, especially if they work with sensitive groups, such as sex workers or drug addicts.

Many foreign NGOs also operate in China, though they have traditionally registered as businesses as the approval process is easier. Beijing has treated some of them with suspicion, worried they may try and spread foreign values.

While the government requires all NGOs in China to register with it, the process is often difficult, driving many Chinese and foreign NGOs to operate under the radar.

The probe into the activities of foreign NGOs emerged after a website of the Yuncheng city government in the northern province of Shanxi published details this week, apparently inadvertently, which were picked up by Chinese media on Friday.

The national security commission has ordered a “nationwide comprehensive and thorough investigation of overseas NGOs and their activities, to find out the basic situation,” the city government said in the notice.

The move is intended to lay the foundation for strengthening and standardizing management as the next step, it said, adding that the campaign begun in May will run until the end of July.

The posting was removed after Chinese media, including the website of the influential magazine Caijing, drew attention to the plan.

The survey of overseas NGOs must be conducted in a responsible fashion to “safeguard the security of the national political system and social stability,” the notice said.

The national security commission was only unveiled last year, and serves as a key tool for Xi’s administration to coordinate responses to domestic and foreign security challenges, including social unrest.

Authorities in at least four other locations have announced similar plans to probe foreign NGOs.

In an urgent notice on their website last week, education authorities in Pinghe county of southeastern Fujian province demanded that schools and kindergartens do a full survey of the overseas NGOs with which they or their employees and students work.

The southern province of Guangdong announced in April that it would launch a survey of social bodies and overseas NGOs to gather information, and ease regulation of their activities.

Xi’s government has launched a sweeping crackdown on freedom of expression and association since coming to power last year, including the jailing of anti-corruption activists who have pushed for officials to disclose their assets.

 

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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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