Transnational Civil Society in China

Transnational Civil Society in China

Intrusion and Impact

Chen Jie

This book discusses the penetration, growth and operation of transnational civil society (TCS) in China. It explores TCS’ impacts on the incremental development of China’s political pluralism, mainly through exploring the influences of the leading TCS actors on the country’s bottom-up and self-governing activist NGOs that have sprung up spontaneously, in terms of capacities, strategies, leadership and political outlook, as a result of complex interactions between the two sectors.

Chapter 2: Transnational intrusion and Beijing’s mixed reactions

Chen Jie

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights, international politics


Theorizing and contextualizing the developments presented and quantified in Chapter 1, this chapter presents a more expansive investigation of transnational civil society organizations and China. It starts with a general discussion of the rise, activities and influence of transnational actors in global governance in the recent decades as a background for their China intrusion and Beijing’s reactions to these latecomers through its open door. The chapter then analyses the international and national issues which have attracted the leading INGOs to China, and examines China’s transitioning political opportunity structures which have enabled transnational cooperation, although with major limitations. Subsequently the chapter specifically looks into China’s reactions to the rising global influence of transnational social movements, and the complex and ambiguous relations between the government authorities and INGOs characterized by working pragmatism and political vigilance. Finally, it presents case studies (HPI, Greenpeace and TNC) to highlight how transnational actors have tried to modify their behavior to adapt o China’s political structures. The influence of transnational social movements in world politics has been rising, challenging state power and contributing to the maturing of global governance. The significance of this salient post-Cold War trend was symbolized by the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) in 1997, and to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in 1999. ICBL, in particular, a coalition boasting more than 1000 NGOs from 60 countries, successfully laid pressure upon UN member states to sign the Mine Ban Treaty.

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