Building Local Support for Chinese Civil Society with International Resources

Original paper

Abstract

This article examines how international resources can be used to strengthen local support for civil society initiatives in China to improve the circumstances of poor and vulnerable populations. It identifies ways in which international resources have strengthened civil society in other countries, such as enhancing access to financial resources, building capacity of leaders and organizations, reducing sector fragmentation, building public legitimacy and improving cross-sector relations. It examines the characteristics and special circumstances facing civil society in China, arguing that institutional constraints are particularly problematic. Then it explores how international resources might be applied to each of the problem areas identified given the constraints of the Chinese context. Finally the article articulates five principles that might guide international donors for building more local support for civil society activity in China.

Keywords

Chinese civil society International donors Capacity building Building local support Strengthening civil society 

Résumé

Cet article examine comment les ressources internationales peuvent être utilisées pour renforcer le soutien local aux initiatives de la société civile en Chine, dans le but d’améliorer la situation des populations pauvres et vulnérables. Il identifie les façons dont les ressources internationales ont renforcé la société civile dans d’autres pays, par exemple en facilitant l’accès à des ressources financières, en développant les moyens des dirigeants et des organisations, en réduisant la parcellisation du secteur, en instaurant une légitimité publique et en améliorant les relations inter-secteurs. Il étudie les caractéristiques et les situations spécifiques auxquelles est confrontée la société civile en Chine, en faisant valoir le fait que les contraintes institutionnelles sont particulièrement problématiques. Il explore alors la manière dont les ressources internationales pourraient être mobilisées dans chacun des secteurs identifiés du problème en prenant en compte les contraintes imposées par le contexte chinois. Enfin, cet article formule cinq principes susceptibles de guider les acteurs internationaux dans l’amélioration du soutien local à l’activité de la société civile en Chine.

Zusammenfassung

Dieser Beitrag untersucht, wie internationale Ressourcen eingesetzt werden können, um die Unterstützung von Bürgergesellschaftsinitiativen vor Ort in China zu stärken und so die Bedingungen für verarmte und gefährdete Bevölkerungsgruppen zu verbessern. Es werden Methoden dargelegt, wie internationale Ressourcen die Bürgergesellschaft in anderen Ländern gestärkt haben, beispielsweise durch den verbesserten Zugang zu finanziellen Ressourcen, den Ausbau von Führungs- und Organisationskapazitäten, die Reduzierung der Sektoraufteilung, die Entwicklung öffentlicher Legitimität und die Verbesserung sektorübergreifender Beziehungen. Der Beitrag untersucht die Merkmale und besonderen Umstände, mit denen die Bürgergesellschaft in China konfrontiert wird. Es wird in diesem Zusammenhang behauptet, dass institutionelle Zwänge ein ganz besonderes Problem darstellen. Anschließend untersucht der Beitrag, wie internationale Ressourcen auf die jeweiligen Problembereiche in Anbetracht der Einschränkungen in China angewandt werden können. Abschließend werden fünf Grundsätze formuliert, die internationalen Spendernhelfen könnten, größere Unterstützung vor Ort für Bürgergesellschaftsaktivitäten in China zu entwickeln.

Resumen

Este documento examina cómo se pueden utilizar los recursos internacionales para fortalecer el apoyo local a favor de las iniciativas de la sociedad civil en China para mejorar las circunstancias de las poblaciones pobres y vulnerables. Identifica las formas en las que los recursos internacionales han fortalecido a la sociedad civil en otros países, tales como aumentando el acceso a los recursos financieros, creando capacidad de líderes y organizaciones, reduciendo la fragmentación del sector, creando legitimidad pública y mejorando las relaciones intersectoriales. Examina las características y circunstancias especiales a las que se enfrenta la sociedad civil en China, argumentando que las restricciones institucionales son particularmente problemáticas. Después, explora cómo los recursos internacionales podrían se aplicados a cada una de las áreas con problemas identificadas dadas las restricciones del contexto chino. Finalmente, el documento articula cinco principios que podrían orientar a los donantes internacionales para crear más apoyo local a favor de las actividades de la sociedad civil en China.

摘要

本文探讨如何利用国际资源加强对中国民间社会行动的本地支持,为改善中国贫困和脆弱人群提供帮助。本文介绍了国际资源为其他国家民间社会活动提供支持的方式,包括增加财务支持、加强领导人和组织的能力建设、减少部门分支、建立公众合法性以及改善部门间的相互联系。本文研究了中国民间社会的特点和特殊情况,并认为体制制约是核心问题。在考虑中国国情的前提下,本文探讨了如何将国际资源应用到各种问题领域。最后,本文阐述了五大原则,可作为希望为中国民间社会活动提供更多本地支持的国际捐助者的行动指导。

要約

本論文では、貧困で脆弱な人口事情を改善する中国の市民社会において、イニシアチブの地域サポートを強化するために、どのように国際的資源が用いられるのかを調査する。金融資産へのアクセスの向上、リーダーと組織の能力の構築、セクターの分裂の抑止、公共の合法性の構築、交差しているセクター関係の改善など、国際的資源が他国における市民社会を強化する方法を特定する。制度上の規制には特に問題が多いことを論じて、中国で市民社会が直面している特性と特殊事情を検証する。中国での規制を念頭に置きながら、どのように特定されたそれぞれの問題領域に国際的資源が適用されるかを研究する。最終的に本論では、中国での市民社会活動に地域サポートを組み込むために、国際的なドナーを導く5つの原則について明らかにする。

ملخص

هذا البحث يفحص كيف يمكن إستخدام الموارد الدولية لتعزيز الدعم المحلي لمبادرات المجتمع المدني في الصين لتحسين ظروف السكان الفقراء والضعفاء. يحدد الطرق التي عززت الموارد الدولية المجتمع المدني في بلدان أخرى، مثل تعزيز الوصول إلى الموارد المالية، بناء قدرات القادة والمنظمات، الحد من تجزئة القطاع، بناء شرعية عامة وتحسين العلاقات بين مختلف القطاعات. إنه يفحص الخصائص والظروف الخاصة التي تواجه المجتمع المدني في الصين، بحجة أن القيود المؤسسية هي بشكل بارزمشكلة. ثم يستكشف كيف يمكن تطبيق الموارد الدولية على كل من مجالات المشكلة المحددة مع إفتراض قيود السياق الصيني. أخيرا هذا البحث يبين المبادئ الخمسة التي قد ترشد المانحين الدوليين لبناء المزيد من الدعم المحلي لنشاط المجتمع المدني في الصين.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The John's Hopkins University 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hauser Center for Nonprofit OrganizationsHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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