Podcast: The Future of China’s Civil Society

Podcast: The Future of China’s Civil Society

Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma delivers his speech during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 5, 2015. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)
from Asia Unbound

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Energy and Environment

On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Andreas Fulda charts the shifting dynamics that are transforming how Chinese NGOs and their foreign partners operate. Fulda, assistant professor at the University of Nottingham and editor of Civil Society Contributions to Policy Innovation in the PR China, argues that because of increasing domestic pressures—such as that from China’s new foreign NGO management law—international actors face a challenging dilemma: ride out the political waves or pull out of China completely? He describes the levers of control the party-state exerts over different sectors of civil society and the tensions between professionalized and grassroots organizations that shape the NGO landscape. Today, he says, a new generation of wealthy entrepreneurs are taking the lead to fund environmental protection in particular, but are still learning what types of support generate tangible results. Amidst these changes, what are the takeaways for both foreign and domestic civil society organizations? Listen below for our conversation and Fulda’s hopeful message: the roots of international cooperation go too deep to be severed by the fickle winds of politics.

Elizabeth C. Economy

C. V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies