The Catholic University of America

 

Professor Simon (left) with Professor Jerome A. Cohen,
NYU School of Law and co-director of its U.S.-Asia Law Institute.

 

Professor Karla Simon Discusses
Developments in Chinese Civil Society at NYU

 

Catholic University law school Professor Karla Simon presented her paper, "2011: The Remarkable Year for China’s Civil Society," at New York University Law School on March 6. The paper was based on a chapter from her book “Reinvigorating Civil Society in China—A Socio-Legal Analysis” (forthcoming 2012, Oxford University Press). 
 
Her address was delivered before an audience at NYU law school’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute, established in 2006 to serve as a resource and partner to various Asian countries as they reform and further develop their legal systems and institutions. The institute, of which Simon is an affiliated scholar, also works to improve the understanding of Asian legal systems by lawyers, academics, policy makers, and the public.
 
Buttressed with a PowerPoint presentation, Simon reviewed the most significant developments of last year in the growth and development of a civil society in China.These included the formal adoption by the government of five-year plans for charity and for a structured approach to HIV/AIDS in the country.
 
She also discussed the downside of 2011—scandals within the China Charity Federation, the Chinese Red Cross Society, and the Henan Soong Ching Ling Foundation that prompted donors to reduce their charitable gifts by nearly 80 percent last summer.
 
The comprehensive lecture covered many other aspects of Chinese civil society as well, including the development of new certification procedures for entities that want to be charities or public benefit organizations.
 
Where is civil society headed within a county as large and complex as China?

The question was addressed by one of the presentation slides, which read, “The aim here is to shrink the government while at the same time hoping to motivate donors to give money to support programs the government outsources to civil society organizations.”