Public Lecture :【Partners of Authoritarians: the politics of community NGOs in China】

Public Lecture :【Partners of Authoritarians: the politics of community NGOs in China】
Organized by Centre For Social Change
Date: 10/11/2016 (Thursday)
Time: 7:30-9:30p.m.
Venue: AC2 Room 1406, City University of Hong Kong
Mr. Samson Yuen (Senior Lecturer of School of Arts and Social Sciences, the Open University of Hong Kong; PhD candidate in Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford)
Dr. Siu Yu Kwan, Kaxton (Assistant Professor 
of Department of Applied Social Science, Hong Kong Polytechnic University)


As an integral part of civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGO) are often regarded as the indispensable element in the democratization process, and hence pose certain potential threats to the authoritarian government. Yet, the Chinese government holds a rather ambiguous attitude towards these NGOs – on the one hand, NGOs are permitted to exist for alleviating side effects of the economic development; on the other hand, a close surveillance is maintained over the NGOs, and the rights advocacy organizations among them are suppressed from time to time.
In recent years, a new phenomenon is gradually emerging within the Chinese civil society: local governments seek cooperation with NGOs through purchasing services from the latter, providing the grassroots society with a wide range of social services, such as professional social worker service, rehabilitation treatment for drug addicts, elderly service, rural migrant worker service, etc.; cultivating a ‘civil society’ in the localities. While some believe the Government purchasing services from NGOs is conducive to the organizations’ survival as well as the prospering of civil society, others are in the opinion that the Government aims to replace the grassroots NGOs, in order to construct a pro-government, ‘harmonized’ civil society in the long run.
How does the new model of government purchasing service from NGOs change the present-day civil society and its future development? Would these service-providing NGOs become collaborators of the ruling power? How should the NGOs situate themselves in the current context? The public lecture attempts to shed light on the above questions.