SPEAKERS: Dr Shawn Shieh and Mr Xu Yongguang
The 2008 massive Wenchuan earthquake gave China’s NGO community a big shakeup.
Dr Shawn Shieh argues that the disaster provided an unprecedented opportunity and space for NGOs to mobilise. The rapid emergence of grassroots NGO networks in the aftermath of the earthquake offers evidence of a civil society developing independently from the state, he says. But the earthquake also laid plain the structural impediments Chinese NGOs continue to face – particularly their legal status and lack of organisational and technical capacity.
More than a year after the earthquake, these concerns have prompted debate among policymakers, academics and the NGO community about the need to liberalize the regulations governing NGOs – while Beijing continues to grapple with its fear of “colour revolutions”.
Mr Xu Yongguang, a prominent leader in China’s NGO circles, will speak about some of these debates, and the growing role of private foundations in supporting civil society in China after the earthquake.
DATE: Wednesday, February 24th 2010
Italian Embassy Cultural Office
2, San Li Tun Dong Er Jie – 100600 Beijing (enter from 3rd Ring road, see map)
Phone: +86 10 8532.7600
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ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:
Shawn Shieh is a Visiting Scholar at the International Education for Students (IES) Beijing Center where he teaches classes on Chinese politics and foreign relations. He is coeditor of a book on Chinese NGOs, State and Society Responses to Social Welfare Needs in China: Serving the People (2009), and is currently engaged in a research project on the effect of the Sichuan earthquake on Chinese NGOs, and writing a book on social activism in China that profiles founders of prominent NGOs. He also has a blog devoted to NGOs in China at www.ngochina.blogspot.com.
Xu Yongguang (徐永光) is Vice Chairman and Secretary General of the Narada Foundation (南都公益基金会), a private outfit which aims to foster civil society in China, focusing on the issue of migrant children’s education. Mr Xu, born in Wenzhou in 1949, is also Vice Chairman of the China Youth Development Foundation, and a member of the Ninth and Tenth National Committees of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
A renowned NGO academic who has been researching and developing the sector for 20 years, he was also head of the Organisation Department under the Central Committee of the China Communist Youth League in 1986. Later, as Secretary General of the China Youth Development Foundation, he founded and facilitated the Project Hope, among China’s most well-known charities.