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Commentary on the New Charity Undertakings Law

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Socialist Modernization through Collective Organizations

image of The China Nonprofit Review

China’s new Charity Law represents the culmination of over a decade of planning for the appropriate development of the productive forces of the charity sector in aid of socialist modernization. Together with the related Foreign NGO Management Law, it represents an important advance in the organization of the civil society sector within emerging structures of Socialist Rule of Law principles. While both Charity and Foreign NGO Management Laws could profitably be considered as parts of a whole, each merits discussion for its own unique contribution to national development. Moreover, while analysis tends to focus on legal conformity of the Charity Law to the state constitution, little work has been done to analyze the relationship of the Charity Law to the political constitution of China. This essay seeks to fill that gap by considering the role of the Charity Law through the lens of the Constitution of the Communist Party of China. More specifically, the essay examines the extent to which the provisions of the Charity Law, and its underlying policies, contribute to the implementation and realization of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Basic Line and in the context of the overall political policy of “socialist modernization which has served as the core of the political line of the CCP since the last decades of the 20th century. The essay is organized as follows: Section II considers the specific provisions of the Charity Law, with some reference to changes between the first draft and the final version of the Charity Law. Section III then considers some of the more theoretical considerations that suggest a framework for understanding the great contribution of the Charity Law as well as the challenges that remain for the development of the productive forces of the civil society sector at this historical stage of China’s development.

Affiliations: 1: W. Richard and Mary Eshelman Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law and International Affairs, Pennsylvania State University


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