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Despite the authoritarian nature of the Chinese state, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have increased dramatically since the 1970s. With labourers migrating to cities en masse in search of higher wages and better standards of living, central and local states permitted migrant NGOs to deliver community services to workers in Beijing and Shanghai.

Engaging a new conceptual framework, Jennifer Hsu’s 'State of Exchange' reveals how NGOs interact with spaces and layers of the state. She explains how a complex web of government bodies lend stability to, and form mutually beneficial relationships with, the state.

NGOs conduct and scale up their programmes, while the state engages with them as a means to remain relevant and further legitimise its own interests. As the Chinese state increases its engagement with NGOs, they are also beginning to push Chinese NGOs to move into an international arena to conduct development work abroad. In the final part of the talk, Jennifer will consider the nature of this internationalisation strategy.

Discussant: Gerda Wielander

About the speaker

Jennifer Hsu is a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow of the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham. Her research broadly covers state-society and state-NGO relations, and the internationalisation of Chinese NGOs.

She has recently commenced a new research project looking at Chinese development assistance in Southeast Asia. She has published in various journals including: the Journal of Contemporary China, Progress in Development Studies, The China Quarterly, Urban Studies and Voluntas. Her monograph 'State of Exchange: Migrant NGOs and the Chinese Government' was released this year with the University of British Columbia Press.

This event is free and open to all.

Non-University of Westminster attendees: please register in advance by emailing James Dyke at [email protected]