Philanthropy Law in China

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The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) and the Council on Foundations co-hosted an instructive, engaging webinar that unpacked the legal framework for philanthropy in China, featuring Chinese civil society experts Shawn Shieh and Jessica Batke.

Shawn presented the current landscape for philanthropy in China, with a special focus on changes resulting from the 2016 Charity Law and Overseas NGO law. He also discussed the rise of philanthropy in China, delved into the new legal scheme presented by 2016 laws, and explored best practices for practitioners engaged or seeking to engage in Chinese giving.

Jessica shared high-level trends and the latest data on how foreign nonprofits are operating today under the 2016 Charity Law and Overseas NGO law. She also answered questions and share suggested approaches for engagement in China, given her experience tracking the impact of Chinese laws and regulations on foreign non-profits, including grantmaking foundations.



Shawn Shieh is Deputy Director of Development and Operations at the Chinese Labour Bulletin and the principal author of ICNL’s Philanthropy Law Report: China, which provides information for philanthropists and others seeking to understand the legal environment for giving in China. Recently, ICNL and Mr. Shieh collaborated on a set of new resources on Chinese philanthropy law, which include: 

  • Infographics on Chinese non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Timelines illustrating recent events in the development of philanthropy in China and in the regulation of philanthropy
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and briefers on China’s 2016 Overseas NGO Law and Charity Law.

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Jessica Batke is a ChinaFile Senior Editor. She is an expert on China’s domestic political and social affairs and served as the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research Analyst for nearly eight years prior to joining ChinaFile. In 2016, she was a Visiting Academic Fellow at MERICS in Berlin, where she published papers on Chinese leadership politics and created databases to catalogue hard-to-find, high-level Chinese policy documents and details about policy advisory groups.

Jessica leads the China NGO Project, a community-driven platform from ChinaFile that provides practical information and analysis on the situation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in China, focused primarily on the implementation of the Law on the Management of Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations’ Activities in the People’s Republic of China (the Foreign NGO Law).

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