The Implications of Civil Society Innovations for Good Governance in China: Exemplification of a Voluntary Charity-Oriented Sphere


Civil society as a concept and practice is significant to the processes of democratization and modernization. It is often defined by Western scholars as areas of social life that are organized by private, voluntary, or autonomous arrangements between individuals and groups outside the direct control of the state while being capable of influencing public policy (Held 1987: 281; Lindau and Cheek 1998: 4). In contemporary China, this area of governance is growing rapidly. In pace with the economic reforms and enormous scale of globalization and modernization in China, various civil society organizations (CSOs) have been proliferating all over China from the metropolitan and coastal cities to remote underdeveloped villages, expanding both international alliance and localized networks, mobilizing organizational resources, carrying out collective actions, channelling public grievances, providing public goods, sharing responsibilities with the government, and bolstering civil society merits and values. According to official statistics, the number of registered Chinese CSOs increased from 289,432 in 2004 to 413,660 in 2008.1 One Chinese source estimated the number of organizations that were not properly registered could be as high as three million (Zhao and Dong 2005).


Civil Society Wenchuan Earthquake Good Governance Civil Society Organization Civil Society Activism 
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© Deng Zhenglai and Sujian Guo 2011

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  • Ying Yu

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