Education About Asia: Online Archives

Rumble in the Eco-Jungle: China’s Green Non-Governmental Organizations

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While Western mainstream media frequently report on the dismal situation of China’s environment, the same media rarely focus on the country’s emerging green movement, which deserves more attention. Besides illuminating important efforts in combating the country’s deteriorating environmental situation, studying China’s green Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) sheds light on the conditions under which civil society organizations in China work and how they cope within a restrictive political environment. Aspects that lend themselves to discussion and exploration include a comparison of the history of China’s green NGOs with the emergence of environmental civil society organizations in the West, different understandings and methods of political activism, and the question of whether China’s emerging non-governmental sector is paving the way for a genuine civil society or “third sphere”—the political space in which autonomous citizens voice their interests, usually considered a requisite for functioning democracies.