East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

2/20, Tiffany Barron, “Transnational Linkages and Grassroots Civil Society in China”


East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society presents


Transnational Linkages and Grassroots Civil Society in China”


Tiffany Barron

Committee on International Relations, Master Student

University of Chicago


4:30-6:00p.m., Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.

*Food will be provided*



How does foreign support of Chinese NGOs affect domestic civil society in China? Previous scholarly work suggests that in favoring grants to large elite organizations, foreign funding plays an overall status quo function in Chinese civil society. Instead, this paper argues that international NGOs play a role in fostering the development of civil society networks within China. Such networks enable the spread of information and aid the ability of grassroots NGOs to survive authoritarian pressure, ultimately aiding their ability to influence policy. This paper examines two cases, Yunnan province and Guangxi province, tracing the development of the civil society sector in both provinces, and the effect of support by international, particularly U.S. based, NGOs. In so doing, this paper shows that a difference in local regulatory environments is not a compelling explanation for variation in the level of grassroots growth among Chinese provinces. While regulatory environment is a conditioning variable, strong civil society networks can bolster grassroots organizations and help them overcome less tolerable regulatory environments. This thesis helps bridge the gap between discussions of internal and external affairs in the scholarly international relations and comparative politics literatures. In examining the domestic consequences of international funding, it also contributes to discussions of the conflation of internal and external security apparent in China’s most recent national security law and its new regulations on international NGOs.

*To learn more about the workshop, please visit our workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/

*Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UChicagoEAW/

*Subscribe or unsubscribe to the workshop mailing-list at: https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/info/east-asia

*Questions and concerns can be addressed to the student coordinator Haitong Xu (xuhaitong@uchciago.edu) and Yang Xiang (xiangalan@uchicago.edu)


Faculty sponsors:

Xi Song (Sociology), xisong@uchicago.edu

Dali Yang (Political Science), daliyang@uchicago.edu

Dingxin Zhao (Sociology), dzhao@uchicago.edu


The East Asia Workshop is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinator in advance.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.