State of Exchange

Migrant NGOs and the Chinese Government

Jennifer Y. J. Hsu

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  • Published: February 2017
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; Politics
  • Bibliographic information: 228 pp., 3 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

Non-governmental organizations have increased dramatically in China since the 1970s, despite operating in a restrictive authoritarian environment. With labour migrants moving to the cities en masse in search of higher wages and better standards of living, the central and local states now permit migrant NGOs to deliver community services to workers in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Engaging a new conceptual framework, Jennifer Hsu reveals how NGOs are interacting with the layers and spaces of the state and navigating a complex web of government bodies, lending stability to, and forming mutually beneficial relationships with, the state.
Jennifer Y. J. Hsu is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta.

"Jennifer Hsu's rich ethnographic study of migrant-oriented non-governmental organizations in Beijing and Shanghai opens a doorway to understanding how Chinese NGOs negotiate the limited spaces provided to them by the government. State of Exchange should be a go-to text for anyone hoping to understand the complex relationship between the state and society in China."
-Timothy Hildebrandt, author of Social Organizations and the Authoritarian State in China

"In articulating the multifaceted ways that different layers of the state engage with NGOs in China, Jennifer Hsu has written a book that conveys the complex reality of state-NGO relations in an authoritarian state. It should be of great interest to scholars and NGO practitioners alike."
-Shawn Shieh, director of development and operations, China Labour Bulletin


1. Moving Towards a Spatial Framework
2. Understanding Non-Governmental Organizations in China
3. Symbolic Cooperation
4. Asymmetric Cooperation
5. Strategic Cooperation
6. Foray in Spaces New and Old