‘One Eye Open, One Eye Closed’: The Role and Regulation of China’s Foreign-Run Orphanages


Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowships


School of Law


The Chinese state has an official monopoly, established in law and policy, on the institutional care of orphans. In practice, a proliferation of private orphanages and foster homes have emerged in recent decades to address gaps in state welfare provision. This socio-legal project, based on my PhD dissertation, to be augmented with updated fieldwork, examines the regulation of quasi-legal foreign-run private orphanages and foster homes in China, and the informal 'one eye open, one eye closed' relationships between such homes and government that structure this social sphere. My research is framed by, and will contribute to, socio-legal theory on law in action and law as culture, and is relevant to studies of NGO law and policy more generally.