Kyrgyzstan on Monday accused the United States of meddling in its internal affairs after Washington criticised the Central Asian country for mirroring repressive legislation used in Russia.

Rights groups in recent months have decried what they say is a trend of democratic backsliding in the ex-Soviet country, once seen as more pluralistic than its Central Asian neighbours.

A new bill would require organisations that get money from abroad to register as "foreign representatives", a label with Soviet-era connotations similar to Russia's "foreign agent" law.

Some groups have warned it could be used as a pretext to obstruct media or rights work.

President Sadyr Japarov responded to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who had written to him to express concern about the bill.

"I have to note with regret that the content of your letter has signs of interference in the internal affairs of our state," Japarov wrote in the letter, published by his spokesman.

He said there are "tens of thousands" of non-government organisations "successfully working" in Kyrgyzstan and many receive funding "not only from the USA and EU".

"Naturally there is a problem directly related to the protection of the legitimate interests of the Kyrgyz state," Japarov said.

He went on to claim that some foreign-funded groups "often disseminate false and unreliable information".

Last month, Kyrgyzstan detained at least 10 journalists linked to Western-funded media.

Japarov has consolidated power since 2020, when supporters sprung him from prison where he was serving time on kidnapping charges.

In his letter, the 55-year-old said Kyrgyzstan was "ready to work" with the United States but added: "My only request: not to interfere in the internal affairs of our country."

A similar law has existed in Russia since 2012 and the Kremlin has leveraged it to exert pressure on and silence critics.