Civil society in South China since 2015: withering or re-embedment?

Chris King Chi CHAN, Lynn TANG

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


The arrests of feminist activists, civil rights lawyer and the leaders of labour NGOs since 2015 and the implementation of Foreign NGO Law in China in 2017 signal a tightened control of civil society in China. Yet we argue that with the sparks of recent social actions, there is a trend of re-embedment rather than a withering of civil society. This re-embedment is reflected in the three strategies of the social activism, namely, localisation through local fundraising, turning underground by acting in the capacity of individual actors, as well as network building of actors. With these strategies, actors in civil society re-embed their actions in the context of local communities, the state and the market. Based on the observation and interviews in a recent study in Guangzhou, we will discuss the possibilities and challenges in this trend of re-embedment. We will conclude with a reflection on the implication of the Guangzhou experience to wider China and other authoritarian state.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes
EventThe 11th International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) - Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands
Duration: 15 Jul 201919 Jul 2019


ConferenceThe 11th International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS)
Abbreviated titleICAS11
Internet address


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