Regulation of International Human Service NGOs in China : New Actors, Old Obstacles

Zucheng YU, Zhuoyi WEN, Haiqin SUN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Previous studies on INGOs in China mainly focus on the organizational strategies for negotiating legitimacy with local governments. However, INGOs not only negotiate for legitimacy but also give an impetus to a clearly articulated mechanism for local governments to implement regulation and institutional improvement. Based on two field studies conducted from 2015 to 2019, this study reveals INGOs are willing to comply with regulation and urge their Chinese partners to do so. China’s fragmented governance institution increases the difficulties in complying with the regulation. It’s worth noting that, public security organs, which have long been perceived as a political gatekeeper, increasingly play a larger role of coordinator and facilitator for a smooth implementation of the INGO regulation.Yet pragmatism remains the underlying political logic of regulation and implies an unequal power relationship between the state and INGOs. These findings enrich the understanding of complex interactions between the state and INGOs under the new regulatory framework in China.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Number of pages14
JournalChina Nonprofit Review
Issue number1
Early online date31 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article is partly funded by following grants: A Research on Innovative Model of Government Purchasing Services from Social Organizations, Key Project of Philosophy and Social Sciences Research, Ministry of Education, PRC. Difficulties and Solutions of Registration System of Philanthropic Organizations in China, China National Social Science Foundation. Research on Practices and Experiences of Grass-root City Governance in and out China, Research and Innovation Team Project of Young Teachers in Shanghai International Studies University.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • China
  • fragmented governance
  • International NGO Law
  • regulation


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