Sunday, June 10, 2018

Free Special Issue on NGOs in China in the Xi Jinping Era

 The Nonprofit Policy Forum just issued a very nice special issue on recent developments in the NGO space in the Xi Jinping era (disclaimer: I contributed). The articles published in this issue are meant to be accessible and topical, and are relatively short for academic pieces. Below is a list of the articles with authors and abstracts. They can be downloaded free of charge on Nonprofit Policy Forum’s website.

Nonprofit Policy Forum, Volume 9, Issue 1 (May 2018)
Special Issue on Nonprofit Policymaking in China, Guest Editors: Xiaoguang Kang and Qun Wang

1) Introductory Essay: China’s Nonprofit Policymaking in the New Millennium

Qun Wang, Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Bloomington, USA, E-mail:

Xiaoguang Kang, China Institute for Philanthropy and Social Innovation, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China, E-mail:

2) Social Autonomy and Political Integration: Two Policy Approaches to the Government-Nonprofit Relationship since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China

Jinjun Wang, Party School of Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, E-mail:

Qun Wang, Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA, E-mail:

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the party-state has established a number of policies on social organizations. Some policies are complementary, whereas some seem to be contradictory. These policies are associated with two policy approaches. The first is socially oriented, allowing social organizations the opportunity for autonomy and encouraging capacity-building. The second is political integration mainly through party-building in social organizations. The two approaches do not exist alone or in isolation. Intertwined they indicate that the Chinese party-state has begun to institutionalize an integrative control mechanism to maximize the utility of social organizations in prioritized fields of work.

3) Government Service Purchasing from Social Organizations in China: An Overview of the Development of a Powerful Trend

Weinan Wang, The School of Social Development and Public Policy, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China, E-mail:

Holly Snape, Peking University, School of Government, Research Center for Chinese Politics, Beijing, China, E-mail:

In this work, we draw on available data to develop a comprehensive picture of the process through which “government service purchasing” has developed in China thus far. We argue that to understand the challenges that have begun to emerge in practice, it is important to look back and understand how government service purchasing has developed to date. Our hope is that by providing an overview of this development process, we can facilitate further research on what we believe is a phenomenon that will have deep implications for the relationships between Party, state, society, and market over the next decades in China.

4) The Chinese State and Overseas NGOs: From Regulatory Ambiguity to the Overseas NGO Law

Shawn Shieh, Chinese University of Hong Kong, University Services Centre for China Studies, Hong Kong, China, E-mail:

This article discusses the significance of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administration of Activities of Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations in the Mainland of China (hereafter the ONGO Law) for the Chinese state’s regulation of overseas NGOs in the reform period. We show how the ONGO Law represents a dramatic shift in the regulation of ONGOs from a situation of regulatory ambiguity to one where ONGOs now come under a comprehensive law that seeks to regulate all their activities in mainland China. In doing so, the Law has created a dramatic shift in the legitimacy of ONGOs in China. Before the Law was enacted, ONGOs operated in a legal grey area where their work was opaque, received little recognition, and enjoyed limited legitimacy in the eyes of the government and public. The Law will change all of that, making the work of ONGOs more visible and transparent, and providing a formal channel for dealing with the government. At the same time, in putting the implementation and enforcement of the Law in the hands of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), and creating a legal framework that is restrictive rather than enabling, the Chinese state has sent a very different and contradictory message to ONGOs who see themselves being viewed more as objects of suspicion than as legitimate stakeholders in China’s development.

5) Advocacy under Xi: NPO Strategies to Influence Policy Change

Jessica Teets, Department of Political Science, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT 05753-6203, USA, E-mail:

Oscar Almen, Department of Government, Uppsala University, Uppsala 75120, Sweden, E-mail:

Under the Hu-Wen administration, scholars analyzed how political opportunity structures (POS) affect the policy influence of NPOs in China, and found that the opportunity structure was relatively more open, especially for NPOs using personal connections. In this article, we focus on changes in the opportunity structure since Xi Jinping came to power after 2012, and find that the more closed political climate has had important consequences for NPO policy advocacy. We identify three strategies that NPOs have used to advocate, such as using the law, media framing, and establishing expert status. While these strategies are not novel, we argue that the weighting has shifted in terms of what leads to success.

6) Chinese NGOs are “Going Out”: History, Scale,Characteristics, Outcomes, And Barriers

Xiaoyun Li and Qiang Dong, College of Humanities and Development Studies, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China, E-mail:

From a historical perspective, China has become a focus of attention in contemporary globalization, and the expansion of Chinese NGOs’ participation overseas has been an important part of its globalization process. On the one hand, this “going out” phenomenon implies a spontaneous, internal cultural power within the Chinese society driven by a strong economy, which is a modern form of ideological promotion caused by capital expansion. On the other hand, this process has also been propelled by utilitarian factors. Nevertheless, despite a decade of development, the “going out” of Chinese NGOs is still in its infancy. Moreover, Chinese NGOs that are going global face various challenges in terms of laws and policies, public awareness and fundraising, transnational operations, and professional talent. To propose new concepts of global development, Chinese NGOs will have to strengthen themselves.

7) Moving Toward Neo-Totalitarianism: A Political-Sociological Analysis of the Evolution of Administrative Absorption of Society in China

Xiaoguang Kang, China Institute for Philanthropy and Social Innovation, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China, E-mail:

China recently promulgated and revised a number of laws, regulations and measures to regulate the nonprofit sector. All these administrative efforts increase support for Chinese nonprofit organizations (NPOs) on the one hand and put unprecedented pressure on them on the other. The seemingly contradictory effects are actually based on the same logic of Administrative Absorption of Society (AAS). This article proposes three phases in the development of AAS: an subconscious phase, a theory-modeling phase, and an institutionalization phase. The institutionalization of AAS has led to the rise of neo-totalitarianism, which is featured by state capitalism, unlimited government, and a mixed ideology of Marxism and Confucianism. Neo-totalitarianism further
strengthens AAS and has begun to reshape the relationship between the state and the nonprofit sector. This article analyzes China’s nonprofit policymaking from a sociopolitical perspective, and clarifies the context, the characteristics, and the evolution of laws and policies in the nonprofit sector in macrocosm.

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