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Carolyn L. Hsu

In the early 1990s researchers found almost no evidence of domestic NGOs in China. By 2016, China had nearly 700,000 organizations registered with the government, and between 2 and 8 million additional unregistered organizations. The most popular areas of focus have been the environment, education, disabled people, women’s issues, community development, and healthcare. This chapter examines how the Chinese NGO sector boomed despite a hostile political and legal environment and a suspicious populace. It explores the history of charitable work in the Imperial era and social welfare under the socialist state during Mao Zedong’s regime, and conditions that made the emergence of Chinese NGOs possible. It analyzes the current strategies Chinese NGOs use to mobilize citizens and influence government actions while under an authoritarian political regime, thereby developing new forms of civil society. Last, the chapter looks at the influence of the international NGO sector on Chinese NGOs.