Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by David S.G. Goodman
Chapter 19: Non-governmental organizations
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become increasingly important stakeholders in the transformation of Chinese society over the course of the last 20 years, and this has radically impacted upon the literature on the topic. Publications on the rise of Chinese NGOs, and to a lesser extent Chinese civil society, have attracted the interest of a range of scholars across the social sciences. The study of Chinese NGOs is important to the field of Chinese politics because of the insights provided to understand state–society relations in contemporary China. Furthermore, research in this area indicates how various Chinese stakeholders (state and non-state) are managing a range of social concerns, significant because of the implications for socio-political changes. As a result this chapter will first focus on a general overview of NGOs and their functions in society. The second section will discuss the emergence of Chinese NGOs from a civil society perspective. I will then look at the implications of NGOs’ presence on state–society relations in China. While the development of Chinese NGOs is affected by the political context, not all NGOs have had the same developmental experience. The following section will look at four different NGO sectors to demonstrate that the rules and regulations governing NGOs, formal and informal, have had varying effects on NGO developments. I will then consider some of the latest trends affecting Chinese NGOs and how that has impacted on scholarly work on NGOs.
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