(Abstract: The study focuses on the attitude of the regulative authoritarian state, which is providing the non-state actors some sort of dependent autonomy for its own existence. The NGOs are performing a self-contradictory role of allegiance and antagonism for state sponsorship. An ever-growing civil society activism in China is proving a proof of the fact that the welfare issues have not been addressed by the state.)
Asoke Kumar Mehera (email@example.com)
(Ex-Teacher of La Mart College of Technology, Sydney)
Chinese state-centric model of CSR is contrary to the market-based model (US) and relational model (EU); but non-monolithic nature of the present state is contributing towards local government influence and control. The NGOs in Shanghai & Guangdong province indicates that local governments implement their own policy in the absence of higher-level guidance of central policy and the local states across all levels have a substantial interest and control in the work and operations of NGOs. It is easy to notice a leading trend towards an "uncivil society", where rules do not exist or are ignored, and where organisations which are supposed to work for the public interest are being used to serve illegitimate private interests instead. I want to relate NGO studies to such issues as state capacity, political culture, and the evolving state-society relations in China.
Some of the main activities of Chinese NGOs include facilitating the establishment of organizations, various training courses, poverty-reduction projects, healthcare programs and the establishment of funds for specific marginalized female communities. Social activists are confronting challenge of consumerism and commercialization as advocated by market economy. While they are concerned about the rights of people; the government is concerned about indicators and reduction of imbalanced sex ratio.
A research on the NGOs carried out in 2000 shows that popular NGOs active in the field of women’s rights, tries to hide the cases from mass media because it would directly criticize the local authorities and police, whose goodwill is important for their existence. Many NGOs consider their relationship with government agencies and officials as the most important of all their relationships. Many officially organized NGOs at local levels are simply tools for local government agencies to create agency slush funds.
Chinese NGOs have been plagued by many external and internal problems, such as restrictive government NGO policies, their dependent relationship with the state, motivational problems of NGO staff, and certain features of China's political culture. Wary of the potential threat to its authority and rule, the government has adopted a policy of forestalling the formation of NGOs which might challenge it politically, weaken its control over society, or constrict its autonomy in formulating economic and social policies. For example, civil affairs department guidelines indicate that no NGO set up by ‘specific social groups’, such as migrant labourers, laid off workers, or ex -servicemen, should be allowed to exist. In a collection of MCA documents, several reports by provincial governments highlighted that the local government successfully persuaded the union (i.e. union at Shanghai factory by rural migrants protesting for reduction of working hours and pay rise) to disband. Rather than tracking the economics misdeeds of some NGOs, the government focussed its attack on certain types of NGOs (based on political/ideological ground) championing the rights of disadvantaged social groups and challenging state policies.
Various qualitative and quantitative studies of China’s political culture have identified a number of features that are not conducive to collective action and civil society activism. These include…