The Catholic University of America



Professor Karla Simon Advocates in
Leading Chinese Newspaper for Expanded Role for NGOs


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With the widely expected ascension of Xi Jinping to the top of China’s Communist Party announced in mid-November, the time is right for the new government to grant non-governmental organizations (NGOs) a greater role in addressing social needs that the government cannot or will not deal with on its own.

So writes Catholic University law school Professor Karla Simon, author of an op-ed published on Dec. 1 in the South China Morning Post.
Co-authored with David Yang, an associate political scientist at the Rand Corporation, “Civil society can help China modernize” lays out the case for the Chinese government to make it easier for NGOs to operate in the country and to expand the scope of their potential contributions to the Chinese people.
One example: the lack of support systems for aging and retiring workers. China does not support a pension or social security system as Americans understand it, and factory workers are completely dependent upon their company bosses to provide for them.
Permitting NGOs to urge employers to contribute to private pension plans and show them workable models would be one vital need NGOs could address right away, the scholars note.
“Some ideas may work; others may not,” wrote Simon and Yang. “Deng Xiaoping always made local experimentation a priority for the development of new national policies. The same should be true of the new leadership as it creates methods to address the ‘new modernizations.’”