Non-governmental organizations have increased dramatically in China since the 1970s, despite operating in a restrictive authoritarian environment. With labour migrants moving to the cities en masse in search of higher wages and better standards of living, the central and local states now permit migrant NGOs to deliver community services to workers in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Engaging a new conceptual framework, Jennifer Hsu reveals how NGOs are interacting with the layers and spaces of the state and navigating a complex web of government bodies, lending stability to, and forming mutually beneficial relationships with, the state.
1 Moving Towards a Spatial Framework
2 Understanding Non-Governmental Organizations in China
3 Symbolic Cooperation
4 Asymmetric Cooperation
5 Strategic Cooperation
6 Foray in Spaces New and Old
Appendices; Notes; References; Index
Jennifer Hsu’s rich ethnographic study of migrant-oriented non-governmental organizations in Beijing and Shanghai opens a doorway to understanding how Chinese NGOs negotiate the limited spaces provided to them by the government. State of Exchange should be a go-to text for anyone hoping to understand the complex relationship between the state and society in China.
Timothy Hildebrandt, assistant professor of social policy and development, London School of Economics, and author of Social Organizations and the Authoritarian State in China
In articulating the multifaceted ways that different layers of the state engage with NGOs in China, Jennifer Hsu has written a book that conveys the complex reality of state–NGO relations in an authoritarian state. It should be of great interest to scholars and NGO practitioners alike.
Shawn Shieh, director of development and operations, China Labour Bulletin
[Hsu] carries out rigorous academic analysis to explore in case studies in both Beijing and Shanghai how the central government, the municipal government, street neighborhood entities, and residents’ committees interact to address issues involving migrant workers … This well-done study contributes to understanding Chinese politics and, more generally, how local governmental units operate with some independence under authoritarian central governments.
J. A. Rhodes, Luther College