Webcast Recap

In the last decade the number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in China has exploded, with these social organizations operating in an increasing number of areas. All the while, the political system in China has not undergone the kind of change expected upon such growth of civil society.

In this talk, Timothy Hildebrandt will discuss his new book -- Social Organizations and the Authoritarian State in China -- which examines the development of civil society groups in China. His presentation will cover a cross-regional, multi-case study examination of NGOs in three different areas: environmental protection, HIV/AIDS prevention, and gay and lesbian rights. By carefully breaking apart and analyzing the opportunity structure facing Chinese social organizations, the book demonstrates how Chinese NGOs must adapt activities to match the changing interests of local governments. Its comparative approach also provides for important insights into variation across locale and issue area. Dr. Hildebrandt argues how social organizations paradoxically strengthen, rather than weaken, the authoritarian regime in China. In this talk, he will also discuss how this particular model of state-society relations might soon be exported to other authoritarian contexts as Chinese NGOs “go out” to the rest of the world.

Yang Guobin, a former Wilson Center Scholar, will draw on his own research into Chinese citizen and NGO activism on the Internet to make comments on Dr. Hildebrandt’s presentation.


  • Timothy Hildebrandt

    Lecturer in Social Policy and Development, Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Guobin Yang