Friday, June 12, 2020
Spires, Regulation as Political Control: China's First Charity Law and Its Implications for Civil Society
Anthony J. Spires (University of Melbourne) has published Regulation as Political Control: China's First Charity Law and Its Implications for Civil Society in the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. I missed this article when it first came out, but given the importance of its topic it is still worth highlighting. Here is the abstract:
With the passage of a nationwide Charity Law in March 2016, Chinese nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) entered a new and unprecedented era of legal regulation, one that dramatically transformed the formal rules governing state–civil society relations. This article highlights problems experienced under earlier regulations and outlines the major features of the new law. Drawing on multiple focus groups and interviews with grassroots NGOs around China, the article highlights gaps between NGO leaders’ understandings of their work and several of the law’s key provisions, revealing civil society’s skepticism and pessimism about prospects for change. It concludes by considering the law’s likely implications for civil society development in China and lessons for other authoritarian states, suggesting that regulation in such regimes should be seen more properly as a tool of political control.