Written by Yongshun Cai.
The Chinese central and local governments are ambivalent to NGOs but not for the same reason. The central government recognizes the contributing role of NGOs in social governance, but it is also concerned with the potential political threat arising from any organizations independent of the state’s control. Local governments feel the direct need of NGOs in helping local governance, but they are worried about the political responsibilities tied to the management of NGOs. The central government addresses these concerns by regulating NGOs, whereas local governments tend to create and support NGOs that are more controllable.