Conference reviews legal framework for civil society

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The National Civil Affairs and the Rule of Law Work Conference was held in Shanghai on Oct 11. The conference reviewed achievements made in civil affairs and the law since the 13th Five-Year Plan and agreed objectives for the coming years. Li Jiheng, minister of civil affairs, Peng Shenlei, vice-mayor of Shanghai, and Wang Aiwen, vice-minister of civil affairs attended the meeting and delivered speeches.

To better manage charities across the country, on Sept 1, 2016, the Charity Law of the People’s Republic of China came into force. It is China’s first comprehensive law to cover the charity sector. The law has since been complemented by the following policies and rules: Administrative Measures for Services of Public Fundraising Platform, Measures for the Recognition of Charitable Organizations, Management Measures for Public Fundraising of Charitable Organizations, Regulations on Annual Expenditures and Management Fees for Organizations Carrying out Charitable Activities, Management Measures for Charitable Trusts, Measures of Charitable Organizations Information Disclosure and Rules over Cases of Illegal Public Fundraising.

At the provincial level, charity regulations were recently published in Shanghai, Hubei Province, Jiangsu Province, Shandong Province and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

Regarding volunteer services, the State Council published the Volunteer Service Regulations in August 2017. The rules came into effect on Dec 1, 2017, and are China’s first voluntary service administrative regulations. Last year, the Ministry of Civil Affairs issued the Measures for Issuing Volunteer Service Records and Certificates (trial) which came into force on Feb 1, 2021.

In addition, 13 provinces have already published their own volunteer service regulations to guide local voluntary activities.

The role of social work services in assisting the rule of law has been explicitly mentioned in various laws between 2015 and 2021, including the Anti-Domestic Violence Law (December 2015), the Community Correction Law (December 2019), the Juvenile Protection Law (October 2020), the Law on the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (December 2020) and the Law on Rural Revitalization and Improvement (April 2021).

The Measures for the Evaluation of Senior Social Workers law was published in 2018, which for the first time established a social work talent management system connecting social workers at the junior, middle and senior levels.

At the provincial level, the Regulations of Social Work in Guangzhou was passed in July 2018 and came into effect on Jan 1, 2019.