Non-Governmental Organizations in Contemporary China: Paving the Way to Civil Society? (Routledge Contemporary China Series)

Non-Governmental Organizations in Contemporary China: Paving the Way to Civil Society? (Routledge Contemporary China Series)

Qiusha Ma

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0415546729

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Non-Governmental Organizations in Contemporary China: Paving the Way to Civil Society? (Routledge Contemporary China Series)

Qiusha Ma

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0415546729

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Based on documentary materials including interviews with key players in China, this book charts the development of non-governmental and non-profit organizations in China from the late 1970s to the present day. It recounts how in the aftermath of the 1978 reforms that created a market economy and diversified interests and social life, new institutions and organizations outside of the state system increased dramatically in number, size and influence. These organizations, which barely existed before the reforms began in the late 1970s, carry out many social, economic and cultural tasks neglected by the government.

Qiusha Ma examines two key questions crucial to understanding the development of NGOs in China: First, is it possible under China’s one-party state for non-governmental organizations to thrive and play important economic, social and political functions? And secondly, are NGOs facilitating the formation of a civil society in China?

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and NGOs. The NPO Network is China’s first NGO aiming to “It takes two to tangle” 181 strengthen communication, information sharing, and governance of NGOs, and its founding was only possible with INGOs’ assistance. The Ford Foundation is by far the largest grant-giving institution in China and has been an important actor in promoting especially grassroots organizations. As this section discusses the impact of INGOs, it is of note that these organizations would not have played an impressive

later the Northern Warlords’ government had some mutual interest, political and economic, in the development of chambers of commerce. The Qing court saw rapid economic growth as its last hope to restoring power, leading some Chinese scholars conclude that “the strong state promotion of industry and business in the late Qing was unprecedented in China’s history” (Zhang et al. 2000a: 119). Beyond economic considerations, the Qing court also depended heavily on the gentry-merchants’ local networks

documents for NGNCEs that these enterprises must adhere to political or moral principles, nor is there any regulation dictating their managerial structures and governance. The NGNCEs are professional institutions or service providers, and not only are they small, but they are also scattered in various professions. At present, their political influence is very limited. Thus, it is not difficult to understand why the government’s main concern now is the growth of SOs (DLSC 1999). Having described

Wildlife Protection Association. Tellingly, FON now has some seven hundred duespaying members, plus thousands of affiliated students organized in local clubs.10 It is linked to like-minded organizations abroad. The GVB has Social capital 117 grown into an institution with 14 staff members and over 4,000 volunteers all over the nation, while Green Home has recruited 30,000 members.11 With their relatively small numbers and limited resources, the major contribution of the grassroots ENGOs to

concerned with the desire to limit state power. Civil society has been seen as a crucial ingredient for democratic life. (Howell 1996: 107) To avoid such a narrow approach, White et al. propose a “sociological definition of civil society” that they distinguish from a political conception of civil society. They see the latter as equating “civil society” with “political society” in the sense of a particular set of institutionalized relationships between state and society based on principles of

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