The Catholic University of America



Professor Karla Simon is Panelist at
Harvard Conference on Civil Society in China

Catholic University law school Professor Karla Simon was among the invited speakers at the “Conference on Civil Society and Nonprofits in China,” held by the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University from Jan. 21 to 23, 2011.  

Simon (above, at podium) spoke as part of a panel that dealt with the regulation of nonprofits and policy evolution, addressing her remarks specifically to the legal and policy environment for civil society in today's China with an emphasis on philanthropy. 
The subject is a hot one among leading scholars. The nonprofit sector in China has grown by leaps and bounds. Registered nonprofits in China currently number about half a million, with millions more grassroots organizations operating outside the formal legal framework. The rise of the nonprofit sector contributes to the increasingly powerful role played by civil society in Chinese society.  

But formal regulation of civil society in China is uneven and much stricter than it is in the United States. The Harvard conference asked leading scholars from both nations to contribute to a deeper understanding of the nonprofit sector in China and what is at stake in its success or failure.  
More than 30 speakers and moderators at the conference represented many academic disciplines, including history, public policy, political science, sociology, anthropology and law. The purpose of the meeting was exploratory, to reflect upon recent research, to examine key issues in the field and to assemble a possible future teaching and research agenda.  
Simon will switch hats very soon from panelist to panel sponsor in the same subject area. She is the organizer of a Catholic University law school symposium scheduled for Feb. 8 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  That program, coming at the civil society in China question from a different angle, is titled “Opening Space for Civil Society in China: Can the 'Soft' Power of the United States Help?”