Urban Development: China's Role in the Region

Vu, Thien-Chan
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University of Delaware
This study focuses on the problems the Chinese state faces in providing social services, namely education services, for migrant workers living in slums on the outskirts of Chinese cities. Narrowing the study to focus on the migrant worker population in Beijing, observations are made about state-society relations, the urban rural divide, and the reasons for the state’s political and financial support in education. The Chinese state has started expanding civil society by fostering the development of non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, that can help shoulder the burden of providing social services to migrant workers. Parallels are drawn between national and local policies for NGOs in order to observe how the state has promoted the NGO sector and specifically educational NGOs. The investigator employed a case study method and employed both document research and media analysis. Through these methods, this paper explores the two phenomena being observed in Beijing. The first phenomenon is an urban centric development of the NGO sector due to the consequences of the household registration system, also known as the hukou system. The second phenomenon is the state-led creation of space for issue-specific NGOs whose missions and goals align with state objectives and national priorities. There follows an in depth explanation of the NGO cluster zone being created in Beijing that would promote and support NGOs. Finally, a discussion about the different models of NGO development emerges that speaks to the relationship between the state and educational NGOs. Results support the assertion that there is a need for government led development of the NGO sector and that the state is now more willing to create a space for NGOs to provide public services in Beijing and other urban centers.