BEFORE United States President Bill Clinton makes his final decision on the renewal of China's Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trading status early next month, he really should take a look at Beijing's proposed new additions to its regulations concerning offences against public order. The new provisions, currently before the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), have been tailor-made to tightly restrict the activities of democracy and labour activists, religious and national minority groups. They will give the police sweeping new powers to detain at will anyone even remotely critical of the Government and disband any organisation not formally approved by the authorities. Far from demonstrating the ''overall significant progress'' in human rights that Mr Clinton now claims has been made in several areas laid down in his executive order, the new provisions will rather provide the authorities with a codified legal framework to enforce their crackdown on dissent. The provisions, drafted by the Ministry of Public Security, have been specifically designed to cope with dissidents such as Wei Jingsheng who have continued to engage in ''anti-government'' activities after release from jail. As Public Security Minister Tao Siju explained to the Standing Committee when introducing the bill last Thursday, ''some new problems and offences have occurred which have disturbed the social order and public security and hurt public interests''. The original regulations, which went into effect in 1987, ''made no provision for these activities and it has become difficult to handle these cases according to law'', Mr Tao was quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency as saying. Mr Tao's comments were, of course, a tacit admission that his officers had been handling cases of political dissent in a manner which only bore a tenuous relationship to the law as it stands at the moment. Police have been using a whole range of vague provisions such as ''shelter and investigation'', ''home surveillance'' and ''Article 75'' of the criminal code which refers to the obligations of criminals on parole, in order to provide some legal justification for their arbitrary arrest and detention of dissidents. Such flexible use of the legal code by the police has drawn criticism from jurists both abroad and in China. The police use of ''shelter and investigation'' in particular has drawn fire even from senior officials in the judiciary and procuracy who claim that public security bureau are using the measure as an unregulated form of detention and punishment. Faced with such criticism, the Public Security Ministry has been forced to come up with a new set of provisions which can provide a legal basis for its activities. And it must be said that the ministry has done its homework. Just about every form of dissident activity which the police have had difficulty coping with over the last year or so is covered in the new provisions. Since most of China's best-known dissidents such as Wei Jingsheng and Xu Wenli are still on parole or deprived of their political rights, specific regulations have been made to punish those who ''disobey supervisory provisions while undergoing a period of surveillance, deprivation of political rights, probation with a suspended sentence or parole''. Since it is the public security authorities who are responsible for such ''supervisory provisions'', dissidents will essentially be forced to do what the police tell them or face re-arrest. Those who disobey can be detained for 15 days and fined 200 yuan ($176), even if they do not actually break the law. Likewise, anyone ''fabricating or distorting facts, spreading rumours or otherwise disrupting public order, or doing harm to the public interest through other means'' will be subject to similar punishment and ordered to write a self-confession. This last provision will essentially prevent dissidents from talking to the foreign media or having their articles published abroad. Those who set up unofficial organisations or religious groups, no matter how harmless, will also be subject to administrative detention even if no criminal offence has actually been committed. In short, the new additions to the public order bill are a recipe for a continued crackdown on dissent and as such should give Mr Clinton a pause for thought before his June 3 deadline on MFN.