China to increase Communist presence in charities, trade unions

BEIJING(AFP) - China's ruling Communist Party will set up more cells in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as charities and trade unions, state-media said Tuesday, as authorities step-up controls on civil society.

Newly established Communist party branches will guide NGOs "in the right political direction," ensuring they "carry out party policies," the China Daily newspaper said.

The report comes as Communist authorities crackdown on elements of China's burgeoning civil society, jailing dozens of activists in the past year.

Under the drive "social organisations" will be required to employ at least three Communist party members, the state-run Beijing Youth Daily said.

These employees will "integrate party organisation activities into the social organisation's... daily management and culture," it said.

They will also be tasked with writing annual reports for political superiors.

Organisations will foot the bill for these efforts themselves, the paper added, citing a statement by the party's secretive organisation department.

China is home to a growing number of charities and other non-governmental groups, but the Communist party views independent activism as an anathema.

Authorities are expected to pass a law this year covering foreign charities, which requires them to report "work plans" to police, according to drafts.

Chinese state-run media in recent months have accused foreign NGOs of undermining national security and trying to foment a "colour revolution" against the Communist party.