The Catholic University of America


Professor Karla Simon Presents Report in Beijing
on Progress in Chinese Civil Society

Catholic University law school Professor Karla Simon (below left, in Beijing) presented “Capacity Development of Civil Society Organizations: Towards Inclusive Social Management in China” at the closing ceremony of the Governance for Equitable Development Project (GED) on June 25 in Beijing, China.

The report, co-written with Professor Jianyu He of Tsinghua University and Professor Fengshi Wu of the University of Hong Kong, assessed the progress that various kinds of civil society organizations in China have made under the current government. Comment on the scholarship was provided by Liu Zhenguo, deputy director, General of State Bureau of NGO Administration, Ministry of Civil Affairs.
GED was an international collaboration project initiated by the Chinese government, the European Union and the United Nations Development Program in July 2007. Its goal was to promote the development of rule-of-law and the civil society in China.
The project concluded last month. In a final report summarizing its progress, Simon and her fellow authors noted that while social organizations have taught Chinese citizens skills that many of them lacked in the past, such as how to bring collective lawsuits, lobby politicians and express local policy preferences, due to their sensitivity, these activities remain highly susceptible to government repression.
The Chinese news service Caixin published an account of the GED closing ceremony and the contents of the final report.
Professor Simon is an affiliated scholar with New York University’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute and is working on a forthcoming book: “Reinvigorating Civil Society in China: A Socio-Legal Analysis” (Oxford University Press 2012).