The Importance of Lobbying for NGO development in China

NGO, shorten for Non Government Organization, has been independent from government since the day it was founded in western society. Of course NGO needs a good relationship with the government under most situations, but sometimes those activist groups also go directly against decision makers, which is accepted by the whole democratic society.

However, the development of NGO in China is quite different. As the NGO research expert, researcher of China Science Institute in Environment Research Center, Mr. Kang Xiao Guang expresses: " In recent years the amount of NGO has increased obviously. However, the real development of NGO is still low. The influence of these NGOs to the political and economic aspects of Chinese society is still limited. According to international NGO standard, these can not be counted as real NGO."

One of the main reasons is that in current political system, each NGO has to be supervised by two seperate government departments, which then results in neither department being willing to take the responsibility to supervise. Then without the official recognition, NGO can't be legally recognized. The lack of communication and trust between the two sides then restrict the development of NGO.

And that's exactly why NGO should pay more attention to lobbying in terms of developing in China. Even if you are a NGO, you need to keep a close relationship with the government. That's how things work out in China. Don't dream of becoming an activist group and express ideas by parade. Such things dont exist in this country.
All the biggest NGO in China, such as China Red Cross, Soong Ching Ling Foundation(SCLF), China Youth Foundation, are all seen as "semi-government" organizations, while others like Oxfam, Greenpeace and WWF all have their ways to develop: Oxfam is based in Hong Kong to keep its independence, Greenpeace hires former employee (Ms. Yong Rong) of Chinese Embassy in Africa as the Executive Director of Government and PR, while WWF, being the first one to sign the agreement and accept the supervision of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, has always been in a good relationship with the government. None of those really successful NGOs can afford to lose the support of the government.

The latest PR event initiated by WWF is the Earth Hour, which has won great media coverage (especially online), and WWF successfully convinced 33 governments in different cities in China--which is an astonishing triumph, if anyone has any idea of how difficult to persuade a Chinese local government to join in something that does not necessarily and directly link to the "official achievements". It also shows how successful WWF is in terms of building up and maintaining relationship with the government.

33 cities in China that have participated in Earth Hour Event.


WWF China:

Oxfam China:

Greenpeace China:

1 comment:

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