Shawn Shieh has 15 years of experience working to strengthen civil society and social movements in China and the Asia-Pacific. In 2018, he founded Social Innovations Advisory, Ltd. (SIA), a consultancy dedicated to building a resilient civil society in China and the global South. SIA has been partnering with other organizations to explore strategies and models for sustaining civil society and movements in closed spaces such as China, and helping civil society respond to China’s growing global influence.

Shieh is also a Research Associate at the Overseas Development Institute, a Research Fellow at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, a contributor to Rights CoLab, a member of the Governance Circle of Innovation for Change-East Asia, and a long-time consultant for the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law. He was previously the Deputy Director of China Labour Bulletin in Hong Kong, and Founder and Director of the English-language operations for China Development Brief, China’s only bilingual platform covering civil society and philanthropy.

Shieh received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University and was a professor of Political Science at Marist College from 1995 to 2009. He has written and published extensively on civil society, corruption, and government-business relations in China and has maintained a blog on NGOs in China since 2009.

Last Updated: November 16, 2021



What Future for International NGOs in China?

Katherine Wilhelm, Shawn Shieh & more
Nearly five years have passed since China implemented its Foreign NGO Law, imposing a host of new restrictions on the activities of international non-profit groups. What kind of responsibility do non-government organizations bear for sustaining...



Remaking China’s Civil Society in the Xi Jinping Era

Shawn Shieh
Given his past animosity towards civil society, Xi’s actions have been seen by some as moving China towards a new form of totalitarianism and a closing of the space for civil society. I would argue instead that we should see Xi’s ascendancy,...



What’s the Takeaway from the 19th Party Congress?

Jessica Batke, Peter Mattis & more
The day after the Party Congress ended on October 24, Xi Jinping strode across the stage of the massive Great Hall of the People with the six newly announced members of the 19th Politburo Standing Committee, the body that rules China. What might...

Progress in Implementing the Foreign NGO Law

Shawn Shieh
After a slow start, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and its provincial Public Security Bureaus (PSBs) seem to be finding their stride in implementing the Foreign NGO Law with the rate of registering representative offices and filing “temporary...

More Foreign NGOs Register in Yunnan, Sichuan, Shanghai, and Guangdong

Shawn Shieh
The Beijing-based China Development Brief's (CDB’s) English-language website came out last month with more news about the implementation of the Foreign NGO Law in Yunnan, Shanghai, Sichuan, and Guangdong, where a large number of foreign NGOs...



The Origins of China’s New Law on Foreign NGOs

Shawn Shieh
For many years, the vast majority of foreign NGOs operated quietly in China in a legal grey area. Many are unregistered and work in China through local partners, while others are registered as commercial enterprises. That all changed with the...



How Should Trump Deal with China, and How Should China Deal with Trump?

James Holmes, David Dollar & more
Donald J. Trump, president-elect of the United States, spent much of his antagonistic campaign blaming China for many of America’s economic ills, and repeatedly making thinly veiled threats of a U.S. trade war with Beijing. How should Trump engage...