The analysis in this paper reveals that on the individual level, the institutional framework continues to exert a profound impact on social organizations’ forms and civic engagement in China. The CGSS2012-based analysis leads to the following findings. For a start, political party members and danwei employees demonstrate a higher degree of social organizational involvement and civic engagement. In the meanwhile, the party members’ role in promoting civic engagement is achieved to some extent through mediating effect of social organizations. Next, various types of social organizations have significantly increased civic engagement on a practical level. Finally, income plays a large role to increase the individuals’ organizational involvement, albeit with no obvious influence on civic engagement in practice. These findings are significant in the following ways. First, from an empirical perspective, the current institutional design for social organizations to participate in social governance has delivered the expected results. Second, it confirmed the existence of activists with distinct features in social life as well as the integration of multiple governing networks in social space at grassroots level. Third, in theory, this paper noted that apart from institutional environment of technical governance by bureaucratic government, institutional framework constitutes an important institutional foundation for the development of social organizations, giving rise to the need of further discussions about the interaction mechanism between political parties and society.
How to discriminate the two Chinese terms for “public benefit” (gong-yi) and “charity” (ci-shan) has been an oft-discussed topic on which academic circles are yet to reach consensus. This paper sorts out systematically the existing literature comparing and analyzing gong-yi (“public benefit”) and ci-shan (“charity”), reviews it in light of their origins, their roots in cultural and intellectual history, their meanings and their associations, and summarizes views the academic circles generally hold, hoping to provide reference for further academic discussions.
Studies of social organizations in the People’s Republic of China during the reform period emphasized their limited power and dependent nature, particularly when compared to the US, where associational life is generally understood as relatively independent from the state. More recently China scholars have found greater variation and complexity among social organizations in China and while others increasingly recognize hybridity in American and European organizations. There are, however, few studies comparing the NPO sector and its relationship with the state across regime types. Using resource dependence theory as a lens through which to examine the behaviors and development of two environmental protection organizations, one from China and one from the US, we identify similarities among social organizations operating in very different political and social contexts. Highly specialized organizations, with access to alternative resources can maintain an unexpected level of autonomy, even when the larger institutional context limits and controls associational life.
Within China’s outstanding traditional culture lies a wealth of thought on social governance. In an effort to organize these ideas in systematic fashion, this text contains the dialogue that took place in the autumn of 2019 during a course for public administration graduate students entitled “Innovation in Social Governance.” The dialogue was between Professor Wang Ming of Tsinghua University and sinologist Meng Fanjia, who is a 74th-generation descendant of the great philosopher Mencius and an advocate of contemporary shi culture (a shi is one who aspires to become a person of noble character as defined by traditional Chinese culture). The dialogue, full of novel concepts, summarizes the definition of the word “traditional”. Their discussion was both broadly inclusive and profoundly insightful in the aspects of rite, being a man of noble character, virtue, being a scholar, goodness, filial piety, law, kinship, and morality.
In China, social service contracting is a new phenomenon even in the most developed cities and areas. The action that the government contracts with non-government organizations in delivering community service is merely a local initiative under the context of social administration reform. There are scarce theoretical and empirical discussions relevant to social service contracting in Chinese academic community. In the light of this gap, this article draws on literature of social service contracting in developed countries or cities to understand key elements ensuring an effective contracting and impacts of contracting. Available literature on social service contracting in China is used for discussion to understand the development of social service contracting in China. Public and social services contracting in China can be briefly divided into three models: non-competitive contracting model, competitive contracting model and informal contracting model. Factors influencing the implementation of contracting programs in China are concerned with the participation of sufficient NGOs, the roles and attitudes of government agencies and the relationship and the interaction between stakeholders. The contracting programs both have positive and negative impacts on service provision.
Public cognition is the basic element of the legitimacy of NGOs and has an important influence on the development of NGOs, but it receives insufficient attention in theoretical research. This paper examines public cognition of NGOs by constructing a scale in the two dimensions of attribute and function and distributing 2,596 questionnaires in 29 provincial regions across China. The results show that the level of public cognition of NGOs is generally high; compared with attribute cognition, function cognition is at a higher level and more stable; in terms of internal structure, the non-distributive attribute and policy advocacy function are at the bottom of attribute cognition and function cognition, respectively. Individual characteristics, such as demographic characteristics, educational background, region, and type of their organization, have varying impacts on public cognition of NGOs in different dimensions. In addition, involvement, business connection, and training influence the level of public cognition of NGOs through function cognition. To further increase public cognition of NGOs and improve legitimacy of NGOs, focus should be on the dissemination of knowledge about NGOs, and public education in this regard should be continuously strengthened, so that the public can get a better and more comprehensive understanding of NGOs.