China and Neighbourhood

New Regulations Governing Social Organizations in China: A Civil Society on the Rise?


On November 22, 2011 Chinese media reported that the Guangdong provincial government published the ‘Plan Concerning Further Fostering and Regulating Social Organizations of Guangdong Province’, which contains new provisions governing the establishment of social organizations in the province. According to the new regulations, to come into effect on July 1, 2012, social organizations may directly apply to civil affairs departments for registration without the requirement set by the ‘dual registration system’ of first securing sponsorship by a state agency or organization.

Eliminating dual registration is an important departure from the status quo. Under this system social organizations are required to register and receive periodic inspections by the local civil affairs departments, and seek the professional sponsorship of a state agency or organization in a related policy area. The sponsoring unit is allowed significant involvement in the social organization’s internal operation and decision-making. This system has prevented many organizations from registering, as either due to their “sensitive” area of work or the weak social capital of founding members with local authorities, they do not succeed in securing such a sponsorship. Consequently, this policy has either driven most of the social organizations underground or has led them to use a loophole in the system and register as business units, a practice that exposes them to taxation. It comes to no surprise that the dual registration system is often presented as the most clear indication that social organizations in China lack autonomy. Therefore, initial reactions to the announcement of the changes in Guangdong province have been very positive. Scholars in the mainland argue that if this provincial level legislation finds its way to national level policy, it will signal a “breakthrough” for the development of “civil society” in China, as the requirement of securing institutional patronage will be removed from the equation between state and social organizations.

For academics outside China who work on state-society relations, the new regulations in Guang-dong and their possible adoption as a national policy will inform the ongoing discussion on the form and direction of state-society relations in the PRC. In the last 30 years since the initiation of the reforms, sociologists, political scientists and area studies scholars and students, have been preoc-cupied with a series of interrelated questions:

Published in Political Reflection Magazine Vol. 3 No. 1

About the author / 


Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

jga bookreview

jga bookreview


jga bookreview

jga bookreview

jga bookreview

jga bookreview

jga bookreview

jga bookreview

jga bookreview


  • New Issue is Out Now!

    Vol. IV | No. V – October-November-December 2018 To Download the Magazine Click Here… CONTENTS 04-06…..World News by Furkan Sahin  08-20…..Terrorism in Syria and Beyond: An Interview with Prof. Alain Gabon by Dr. Rahman Dag 22-24…..Erdogan’s Best Shot is Still in the West by Dr. Murat Ulgul 26-30…..Raqqa vs Kobani – Terrorism vs Revolution by Dr. Rahman Dag 32-34…..Future of…

  • Domestic Politics and the Design of International Institutions

    Abstract Scholars are increasing focused on how and why states design international institutions. International relations theories have historically guided research on these institutions, but have not provided adequate insights into the theoretical bases for their design. Rationalists’ theories of domestic politics offer an alternative approach to understanding institutional design. This study utilizes the positive theory…

  • Five generations after the Balfour Declaration: How do Palestinians Resist and Engender Significant Social Change?

    How to Cite: SELLICK, P. (2018), Five generations after the Balfour Declaration: How do Palestinians Resist and Engender Significant Social Change?. Journal of Conlicft Transformation and Security, 6(2): 139–142. The context of Israeli expansion and Palestinian dispossession Over the past year, a series of anniversaries has occurred which marks the progressive dispossession and displacement of the Palestinians….

  • CESRAN International named the World’s #83 “Best Independent Think Tank”

    CESRAN International is pleased to announce that it has been named the world’s number 83 “Best Independent Think Tank”. The ranking was announced in the 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report compiled by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the Lauder Institute. CESRAN International was also ranked 77th among the “Top Environment…

  • The Current State of AI as We Begin 2018

    Artificial intelligence (AI) states one recent article is no smarter than a six-year-old. A study that appeared last summer compared the intelligence quotient (IQ) of Google, Apple, Baidu, and Bing AI to the average human 18, 12, and 6-year-olds. The 6-year-old’s IQ was rated at 55.5 while the 12 and 18-year-olds rated 84.5 and 97.0 respectively. The end result rated…