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China's Opening Society

Despite its recent rapid economic growth, China's political system has remained resolutely authoritarian. However, an increasingly open economy is creating the infrastructure for an open society, with the rise of a non-state sector in which a private economy, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and different forms of social forces are playing an increasingly powerful role in facilitating political change and promoting good governance. This book examines the development of the non-state sector and NGOs in China since the onset of reform in the late 1970s. It explores the major issues facing the non-state sector in China today, assesses the institutional barriers that are faced by its developing civil society, and compares China's example with wider international experience. It shows how the `get-rich-quick' ethos of the Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin years, that prioritised rapid GDP growth above all else, has given way under the Jiantao Hu regime to a renewed concern with social reforms, in areas such as welfare, medical care, education, and public transportation. It demonstrates how this change has led to encouragement by the Hu government of the development of the non-state sector as a means to perform regulatory functions and to achieve effective provision of public and social services. It explores the tension between the government's desire to keep the NGOs as "helping hands' rather than as autonomous, independent organizations, and their ability to perform these roles successfully.
Product Details

Table of Contents

1. A Critical Review of the NGO Sustainable Development Philosophy 2. Whose Civil Society is it Anyway? 3. Non-Governmental Organizations, Non-Formal Education and Civil Society in Contemporary Russia 4. The Changing Aspects of Civil Society in China 5. NGOs in China: Development Dynamics and Challenges 6. The State, Firms and Corporate Social Responsibility in China 7. The Media, Internet and Governance in China 8. Dissecting Chinese County Governmental Authorities 9. Institutional Barriers to the Development of Civil Society in China 10. Chambers of Commerce in Wenzhou: Toward Civil Society? 11. How can Deliberative Institutions be Sustainable in China? 12. Foreign NGOs' Role in Local Governance in China 13. External Actors in the Process of Village Elections: Foreign NGOs and China

About the Author

Zheng Yongnian is Professor and Director of Research, China Policy Institute, School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, University of Nottingham. He researches on China's domestic transformation and its external impact. He has written numerous books, including Discovering Chinese Nationalism in China (1999), Globalization and State Transformation in China (2004), Will China Become Democratic? (2004) and Technological Empowerment: The Internet, State and Society in China (2007). He served as consultant to the United Nations Development Programme on China's rural development and democracy. Joseph Fewsmith is Director of East Asian Studies Program and Professor of International Relations and Political Science at Boston University. He is the author of four books: China Since Tiananmen: The Politics of Transition, Elite Politics in Contemporary China, The Dilemmas of Reform in China: Political Conflict and Economic Debate, and Party, State, and Local Elites in Republican China: Merchant Organizations and Politics in Shanghai, 1980-1930. He is also a research associate of the John King Fairbank Center for East Asian Studies at Harvard University.


'Zheng Yongnian and Joseph Fewsmith have assembled an impressive collection which makes an important contribution to Chinese studies and to broader political science debates on the multiple sources and dimensions of non-state sector development, local governance and deliberative democratic initiatives. Many chapters will provide invaluable sources to scholars researching these issues and the volume will undoubtedly prove to be an important supplement to the expanding literature on NGOs in contemporary China.' - Michael S. Lenihan, The China Quarterly, 196, December 2008 'The volume offers no groundbreaking findings. Thus, for those who are deeply familiar with the state of civil society development in China, this volume will not advance their understanding. It is also unlikely to appeal to historians and anthropologists because the chapters were written by political scientists for students of contemporary Chinese politics. Yet, the essays do identify the salient issues for this area of Chinese politics and society. The volume thus can serve as an introduction to undergraduate students, but the instructor is strongly recommended to make careful decisions about the essays to be assigned.' - John Tai "This book is a valuable addition to the similar, existing collection on the market. It is insightful, up to date, and well documented. Each essay is furnished with notes, and some of the essays are supported with tables. This book is an important scholarly account of the transformations and complexities of civil society in China. Occasionally, authors express different views and conclusions; however, they represent a good example of academic debate. The sound arguments and suggestions supported by documentation make this volume insightful and convincing. China's Opening Society is an excellent read for students, instructors, scholars, policy makers, and professionals specializing in political science, the Chinese politics, public policy, and NGOs in China. As a special discussion of the development of civil society in China as a solution to the challenges of the transforming Chinese society, this volume can be used as a reading text for graduate courses in regional and cultural studies." - Peter Yang, China Review International: Vol. 15, No. 4, 2008

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