Author: Cheng, Yuanjun
Title: Between national mobilization and social responsibility : a case study of Red Cross Movement in China
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2015
Subject: Chinese Red Cross Society
Red Cross and Red Crescent -- China
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: vii, 339 pages : color illustrations ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: This dissertation briefly discusses the survival and development of the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) as a case to reveal changes of fund-raising and resources mobilization, and uncovers some of? for autonomy between the government behavior and social behavior, and how the "Chinese Style" voluntaries emerged in the realm of public welfare activism. Founded in 1904 in Shanghai, form 1949 up to 2010, the RCSC had over 910000 local branches across China, and has become the largest non-profit humanitarian organization in mainland China, as well as the collective memory of Chinese society. Therefore, when "RCSC phenomenon" becomes a social fact, and real life experience to Chinese people in daily living, the investigation on the survival and development of "RCSC experience" is the focus of this study. "RCSC experience" is an inalienable part of "Chinese experiences". Despite its precious "Chinese experiences" and its "Chinese characteristics", this organization and characteristics of the RCSC have never been examined closely, thoroughly or systematically by scholars.This study mainly adopted a case study method, supplemented with 15 focused interviews, tracing the development of the RCSC from 1949 to 2010. The development of China Red Cross movement reveals the changing patterns of government mobilization after 1949 in Peoples Republication of China, from sustained national mobilization, engaging policy support, to increasingly public participation. The author charts those shifts in resource mobilization, reinvented organization, straightening out relationships, and map out expansion of humanitarian sphere. Evolution of strong reciprocity relationship between the RCSC and the government caught the consequences that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) take root in the RCSC to become China's most enduring social welfare institution foundation, still operating today. Finally, the author demonstrates how the "Chinese Style" voluntaries emerged in the realm of public welfare activism, and in the case of the RCSC, did so with strong reciprocity cooperation within the government.
A universal precept in most of the existing western literature is that NGOs are often in fundamental conflict with the authoritarian system in which they operate; and such discordances are reflected both in their structures and functions. The Red Cross movement in China, however, did not emerge and grow as an anti- or counter- government power. From NPO survivability perspectives, relationship between Chinese government and the RCSC has been undergoing significant and profound readjustments from a reluctant partnership to policy tool, and gradually developing along the line of institutionalization. This investigation into the politics of humanitarianism reveals that the humanitarian problem cannot be solved solely in humanitarian way, isomorphism is a constraining process, and neutrality is not an apolitical characterizer. The RCSC and the government are always interactional, and constantly evolve together, thus forming a "symbiosis network". The political trait of their interactional relationship and of its mobilizing pattern determines that the RCSC has to be affiliated to the government instead of being equal in their partnership. This relationship reflects the existing situation of all NGOs in China.This research work also contributes to current scholarship on the rise of "Chinese characteristics". This study elaborates the social foundation of the RCSC, culture context of humanity, and institutional context of the RCSC in detail. Furthermore, it summarizes “Chinese Characteristics of RCSC in terms of an "Anaclitic choice", and forms Hybrids Organizational Patterns. These findings challenge assertions that China NGOs "would push irreversibly the Chinese society forward to the Civil Society". One concern is that the RCSC might lose its distinctiveness in its constant assimilation with the government.
Access: open access

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