Classification is the foundation of legislation. The history of non-profit classification in China is short and the criteria are very unstable. Since the first laws were issued in the early 20th century, there has been only one general term for non-profit organizations (NPOs), which is “association”. Classification of associations, private non-enterprise units and foundations was not done for legal purposes until the late 20th and early 21st centuries, when three regulations were formulated and promulgated, one for each type of organization. Enactment of the Law of the People's Republic of China (PRC) on Donations for Public Welfare (1999), the Charity Law of the PRC (2016) and the General Provisions of the Civil Law of the PRC (2017) shows that the Chinese government is deepening and systematizing its regulation of non-profit entities. However, recent legislation such as the Regulation on the Administration of the Registration of Social Organizations (called the Draft) does not effectively connect the classification of organizations and legal persons with the laws above, nor use terms such as charity and public welfare in uniform ways. On the one hand, discussion of the classification of organizations, legal persons, public welfare and charitable entities shows that the classification of non-profit entities in China has always taken political classification as its core standard, and that the idea behind this approach is very coherent. On the other hand, the classification of non-profit entities is also constantly shaped by the social environment. There is always tension and some degree of rupture between the modern concept of charity introduced from abroad, the classification of legal persons, and the traditional Chinese culture of charity. Due to the absence of a law on non-profit organizations, it is difficult to establish connections and mutual coherence among the General Provisions of the Civil Law of the PRC, the Charity Law and the Draft.