At a roundtable in Brussels in early June, The Rights Practice brought together NGO representatives, academics and European policy advisers to examine the impact of China’s Overseas NGO Law. The roundtable was part of a year-long project to look at how the law is shaping relations between European and Chinese civil society.

Among the key conclusions from the meeting was recognition that independent, often unregistered, Chinese groups are feeling the loss of funding and support from Europe, although some European NGOs are working around the new law.

While civil society spaces are shrinking in China, it is not yet a closed space and some organisations can still implement meaningful activities. Nevertheless, European NGOs with registered offices in China report restrictions that limit the quality and openness of their engagement. Restrictions on civil society within China are increasingly being mirrored in the Asia region, often with Chinese government encouragement.

Participants concluded that European civil society needs to explore and develop new ways to engage with Chinese counterparts at China’s periphery and around the world.

Read the report.