In the process of human development, apart from family, political parties and religious groups, industry, government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) represent three fundamental social groupings and policy forms. In the past few years, NGOs have come to attract attention as a form of social community. This article is based on long-term empirical research into China's NGOs. It embarks upon this endeavor first through an explication of their definition and categories, as well as the social basis, central functions and property rights associated with NGO development, positing a number of important theoretical perspectives. Utilizing this basis the author will conduct specific analysis of policy characteristics and problems associated with the development of NGOs in China and will provide an outlook on future growth trends.