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The Fragmented Authoritarianism of the Chinese State and the Dependent Autonomy of the Ngos - Collaboration or Confrontation?

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  • June 8, 2013
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The Fragmented Authoritarianism of the Chinese State and the Dependent Autonomy of the NGOs: Collaboration or Confrontation? (The study briefly focuses on the fragmented authoritarianism of the state and dependent autonomy of the NGOs, which is creating obstacle toward the progress of civil society in China.) Asoke Kumar Mehera (aust35@gmail.com)

(Ex-Teacher of La Mart College of Technology, Sydney)
In post-reform period, Chinese state is creating and sponsoring NGOs in order to transfer to them certain functions that it used to perform itself under the command system of the socialist era. NGOs in reform-era China represent both challenge and continuity in state-society relations. It is easy to observe the semi-official nature of some NGOs and the state’s tight formal control of the sector demonstrates the evidence of continuity. The officially organized NGOs are comprehensively dependent on the state agencies that created them and behave more like subordinate units of the agencies than independent entities. Actually, Private entrepreneurs are depended on official patronage for access to bureaucratically allocated resources, political protection and socio-political legitimacy. On the other hand, It is also easy to notice a change in the predominantly popular culture of the other NGOs and a certain degree of autonomy (regarding marginalised interests like HIV, same-sex relationships etc.). There are genuinely bottom up NGOs that set their own agenda and seek to influence government policies and try to bring important issues to public attention.

The arbitrary use of administrative power by the state agents, bureaucratic control over the resources, constant fluctuation in government policies and an ineffective legal system, have all contributed to an uncertain environment for NGOs in China. Many popular NGOs have engaged in entrepreneurial activities with their contacts in the government. The state’s failure to discipline the agents and bureaucrats; whose...