Current Issue

June, 2018

Health-Oriented Overseas NGOs and the New Overseas NGO Law in China

Jonathan Schwartz

  How will the Overseas Non-Governmental Organization (ONGO) Law influence the ability of Health-Oriented Overseas NGOs (HONGOs) to function in China? Will they be heavily constrained, or will their roles as providers of health care services offer them protection? I address these questions by focusing on state-NGO relations through the lenses of Regulation, Negotiation, and Societalization. Whereas, in the pre-Xi Jinping era, state-NGO relations trended towards greater Negotiation and Societalization - reflecting the growing cooperation between state and civil society - the ONGO law suggests that state-NGO relations will take a shift back towards greater state Regulation. However, given the state's goal of maintaining control while benefiting from the contributions ONGOs make to development, we can anticipate "good" ONGOs - those whose activities are seen as supporting state goals (such as HONGOs) - will potentially benefit from aspects of the law and a benign interpretation of its strictures. I conclude that because HONGOs provide important and helpful services to the state, they will not be adversely affected. Ultimately, this derives from the reality that the requirements of the ONGO law itself matter less than how China's leadership chooses to target, interpret and implement it.

Different Localizations: Development Paths of INGOs in China

成瑤(Yao Cheng) ; 蕭新煌(Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao)

  The thousands of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), operating in China, continued to grapple with the enduring issue of their legal and institutional status as China introduced rules governing their operations in China with the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Administration of Activities of Overseas Non-Governmental Organizations within the Territory of China in January 2017. So far, the law has received mixed reviews. For the first time, it allowed INGOs to apply for legal status, however, their work will now be monitored and controlled by the Public Security Ministry. INGOs must now work out how to cope with these changes. The government has always controlled INGOs in China, and over time some of them developed approaches to secure legitimacy for their longterm programs. Choosing one INGO as a case study, we investigated the processes and strategies that they can use to develop within Chinese political and institutional contexts. The INGO in this study has been able to navigate the Chinese context for nearly two decades, taking on multiple identities (INGO, local organization, foundation, enterprise and so on) to adapt to different circumstances. This history makes it particularly well-positioned to handle the new law. It has tended towards localization; yet, it has neither completely abandoned its international organization identity nor practices. We find that INGO development in China can be divided into two distinct paths across different times and different regions. Organizational change revolves around a central question that is often extremely challenging-even contradictory- for INGOs in China: Should it insist on fulfilling its organizational mission or maintain its status as an INGO and hence operations in China?

25 Years of Feminist NGOs in China: Reflections on Neoliberalism and its Resistances

Sharon R. Wesoky

  This article traces the development of post-Mao independent women's organizing in China, especially through the evolution of the concept of the non-governmental organization(NGO)and the(de)politicization of feminist organizing. In the 1980s and 1990s, new women's organizations were founded in China, creating a vibrant community of feminist researchers and activists that existed alongside, and often in cooperation with, the Partystate. As "gender" emerged as a sphere of critique of post-Mao inequalities, much of this organizing demonstrated tensions between creating collective concepts of women's liberation and promoting women's individualistic selfhood. This contributed to elements of women's organizing being compatible with neoliberal, privatized, "depoliticized" modes of governance, and thus continued de facto gender discrimination in China's political and economic realms.

The Legal Environment for Foreign and Domestic NGOs in China: What Was Accomplished in 2016 and 2017 and What Remains to be

奚文雅(Karla W. Simon)

  The laws affecting non-governmental organizations(NGOs)in China are multiple and varied and with the adoption of the Overseas NGO Law (ONGO Law), they have become even more complex. In the "revolutionary" year of 2016, China adopted two new laws - the ONGO Law and the Charity Law - as well as a number of regulations, putting into place a ground-breaking new framework for NGOs and setting out new rules over efforts to provide social and economic justice to China’s citizens. This paper looks at the results of this unprecedented regulatory and legal activity affecting NGOs and attempts to place them into an analytical framework.