Activism with Chinese Characteristics: Navigating the Sloping, Uncertain Terrain of Civil Society in China

Walter, Hatch
January 2014
IUP Journal of International Relations;Jan2014, Vol. 8 Issue 1, p37
Academic Journal
This paper examines the behavior of NGO activists in China who work on HIV-AIDS and the environment. It finds one major difference: AIDS activists sometimes use a rights-based discourse that upsets the party-state, while environmentalists focus on advancing the agenda of the central government. But the paper notes that activists in both camps tend to police their behavior. They operate in a civil society characterized by political hierarchy and legal uncertainty. They try to gain the benefits that flow from the top of the pyramidal structure in which they operate and avoid the unpredictable punishment heaped upon those who step out of line.


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