Challenges of Social Engagement: NGO Work in the People’s Republic of China
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Non-governmental organization (NGO) work and social movements meet in their desire to change social politics, and they also often challenge state power. Furthermore, NGO work as well as social movements are established and carried out by individuals who share the same interests and who engage publicly to realize them. Both are thus specific forms of social engagement. In China, NGO work is subject to massive state regulations which results in a sector that is closely linked to the government as will be shown in this chapter by referring to respective state regulations. A majority of NGO work can therefore be best described as being state-affirmative. However, the relationship between state and NGOs is constantly being renegotiated. Whereas the state wants to control NGO work as much as possible, NGO activists are eager to answer social demands, to offer social services which are neglected by the state, and to extend the state-set scope of action. This will be shown in the case of specific NGOs. Generally, NGO work is legitimated on moral grounds. When engaged in issues which the state regards as politically and/or socially sensitive, it furthermore challenges the state-set limits for social engagement. NGO work is thus understood as having an increasing potential to initiate social change.
KeywordsSocial Engagement Harmonious Society Civil Affair Falun Gong High School Entrance Examination
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