Adopting from China in 2017 may come with even more risks and hurdles than before—here’s what we know about the regulations:

  • The latest draft (adopted into law in April of this year) of the Overseas NGO Law is designed to allow Chinese government authorities to better suppress dissent from outsiders. While international adoption agencies may not seem to be likely candidates in political dissension, any attempt at advocacy—especially in human rights—can be deemed unfavorable. If this seems vague and a little worrisome, welcome! This is pretty much the entire point of the law.
  • Intentionally vague, the Overseas NGO Law hands full authority to policing agencies to revoke the rights of any NGO for any reason that seems in any way to endanger national security. Police would have the right to question finances, representation, membership, funding, and even remove the authority of any international NGO to work and practice in China.
  • Policing authorities have the power to “blacklist” international NGOs for pretty much any reason at all (i.e. endangering national security)—meaning that their ability to function within China would be over indefinitely.

For those currently considering or working to adopt from China, the following precautions may serve useful:

  • Use agencies with a long history of working within China—now are not the time to put your hopes and dreams in a new group ministering overseas.
  • Ask your agency what history, if any, the NGO office has with the local police—remember, they are the ones on the ground deciding if “national security” has been “endangered.”
  • Be cautious in any criticisms of the current regime—especially those based on human rights. If your child is waiting to come home, now may not be the time to become a vocal opponent of the current process, and “endangering national security” has been used in the past year to jail human rights watchers within China.

For some good explanations of the Overseas NGO Law, check out this analysis from CHRDC, and this one from Lawfare.

Have you experienced any difficulties in China adoptions? Has your international agency apprised you of any possible stumbling blocks with this new law? Let us know in the comments!



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