Karla W. Simon


This Article will address the following topics with regard to the regulation of civil society in China: (1)Making the existing regulations for social organizations (shehui tuanti, “SOs”), nonprofit non-commercial entities (minban fei qiye danwe, “NCEs”),and foundations (jijin hui) more user-friendly, including making it possible for de facto networks that provide and coordinate disaster relief to be recognized, perhaps as semi-legal entities for a short period of time. The liberalization of the SO regulations should permit mutual benefit organizations to be established in order to fully implement the freedom of association guaranteed by Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution. (2) Making public fund-raising easier for small and medium-sized CSOs. Although the amount donated to charity increased in 2007, the new tax rule permitting all certified charities to receive donations has not been implemented. In addition, the provision giving the government a leading role in fundraising for national emergencies should be removed from the Public Welfare Donations Law (“PWDL”). (3) Passing the Charity (cishan) Law to coordinate the development of the law governing public benefit organizations and begin the process of privatizing charity in China. This should eventually lead to establishing a public benefit commission comparable to public benefit commission in Japan, which is patterned after the Charity Commission for England and Wales. (4) Relaxing the controls on volunteering. While the current municipal rules may work well with regard to a planned event such as the Olympics, they impede the development of volunteer networks at times of national disasters. As suggested earlier, the approach discussed here is an integrated one, and it should be implemented as such in order to make it possible for CSOs to function more effectively as partners of the state. This Article will also draw an interesting comparison between current developments regarding CSOs in China and changes in the legal regulation of such organizations in Japan in response to the “Great Awaji-Hanshin (Kobe) Earthquake” in 1994.