State of Exchange: Migrant NGOs and the Chinese Government

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Convener: University of Oxford China Centre

Speaker: Professor Jennifer Hsu (University of Alberta)

Engaging a new conceptual framework, Jennifer Hsu reveals how Chinese migrant NGOs interact with spaces and layers of the state and a complex web of government bodies, lending stability to, and forming mutually beneficial relationships with, the state. Despite the authoritarian nature of the Chinese state, non-governmental organizations have increased dramatically since the 1970s. With labourers migrating to cities en masse in search of higher wages and better standards of living, central and local states permitted migrant NGOs to deliver community services to workers in Beijing and Shanghai. Engaging a new conceptual framework, Jennifer Hsu’s State of Exchange reveals how NGOs interact with spaces and layers of the state and a complex web of government bodies, lending stability to, and forming mutually beneficial relationships with, the state. Interacting with spaces and layers of the Chinese state, NGOs conduct and scale up their programs, while the state engages with NGOs as a means to remain relevant and further legitimise its own interests. 

Jennifer Hsu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta, Canada. Her research broadly covers state-society and state-NGO relations, and the internationalisation of Chinese NGOs. She has recently commenced two new research projects: 1) Analysing the emergence of Chinese government-organised NGOs in development with Timothy Hildebrandt and Reza Hasmath and; 2) Exploring the role of Chinese development assistance in Southeast Asia. She has published in various journals including the Journal of Contemporary ChinaProgress in Development StudiesThe China QuarterlyThird World Quarterly and Urban Studies. Her monograph: State of Exchange: Migrant NGOs and the Chinese Government was released in early 2017 with the University of British Columbia Press. Link to book: http://www.ubcpress.ca/search/title_book.asp?BookID=299175470

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