This chapter focuses on China's third sector. China's nonprofit sector had its roots in an institutional logic of bureaucracy, and is now opening up to professionalization and in some cases, activism. However, the government, worried about social “instability,” continues to impose severe restrictions on many kinds of activity by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). For example, it bans the formation of any autonomous organization around politically sensitive issue areas such as human rights and the free movement of labor. This chapter first provides a historical background on Chinese civil society before discussing the NGOs' legal structure and funding as well as associational life in the country. It also considers the rise of New Political Culture in China and contemporary trends in the third sector, along with some of the challenges confronting China's social organizations. Finally, it looks at the case of the Anti-PX movement and its protests in Xiamen in June 2007 to illustrate the particular set of tensions faced by civil society in China.
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