Emergent Civil Society in the Late Qing Dynasty: the Case of Suzhou

Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


At the beginning of the twentieth century, with the increase of Western influence and the promulgation of the ‘new policies’ towards the end of the Qing dynasty, there appeared in Chinese cities a change of great social significance, that is, the emergence of large numbers of self-government associations. These self-government associations were a novelty in the early years of the twentieth century, their emergence heralding structural changes in state-society relations. Among the most important of these were chambers of commerce. Using Suzhou City as an example, this chapter explores why these changes amounted to the beginnings of ‘civil society’ in China. (Rowe, 1990, 1993; Wakeman, 1993; Rankin, 1993; and Wang Di, 1996)


Civil Society Public Sphere Qing Dynasty Voluntary Association Late Qing Dynasty 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2002

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  • Ma Min

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