One way that authoritarian governments limit civic engagement and human rights activism is to block funding for it. In 2016, China adopted two laws limiting access to foreign funding, dramatically reducing the base of support for critical thinking on law and policy, while at the same time impeding private initiatives to improve society. Rights CoLab Contributor Shawn Shieh has been studying the innovative ways in which Chinese civil society continues to grow, and he spoke to the Strength and Solidarity podcast about positive outcomes from this seemingly harsh situation.

A new, more diversified funding ecosystem has been emerging in China, with government funding, Chinese foundations, online giving and fundraising platforms provided by tech companies. Necessity has been the mother of invention, and some groups are succeeding with innovative solutions, adopting income-generating business models and developing relationships with local donors. Activists doing the most sensitive or controversial work, however, may not easily replace the support they have lost.

Listen to the podcast episode or read the interview here.