How did the engagement of various stakeholders affect the legislative process resulting in the Charity Law of the People’s Republic of China? This article employs methods of participant observation, expert consultation and qualitative document analysis to find an answer. Results indicate that the power distribution in the legislative process was neither uniform nor one-directional. Power was distributed among a limited scope of stakeholders, then largely to all stakeholders and finally only to the legislative committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC). The NPC committees had a significant impact on the philanthropy legislation; while seemingly marginal stakeholders, such as prominent academics, actually wielded more power through specialities and political connections than those institutions with traditional authority, such as the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Throughout the legislative process, various stakeholders have exerted effects on the representation of legal contexts (e.g. the chapter on charitable trusts) and the regulation of specific affairs (e.g. online fundraising).
This study provides crucial insights into the power dynamics and stakeholder effect in the philanthropy legislative processes in China and explores the nuances inherent in the transformation of philanthropy in Chinese civil society.