From statism to corporatism - 中欧社会论坛 - China Europa Forum

From statism to corporatism

Evolution of the relations between the state and professional groups during the period of market transformation in China

Authors: Gu Xin, Wang Xu

Date: 2005

Published by Published in Sociological Studies, Issue no. 2

Abstract: Professional groups have become a key component of China’s civil society. Referring to a survey conducted by the Civil Society Organisation Research Centre at Peking University, the authors observe that, because of state interventions, professional groups have not yet claimed their full independence. They enjoy a monopolistic status as a result of a social group monitoring system. Most of these groups have sprung up after powers were handed down to them by the government, the so-called ‘organisation by state organs’. Although the state no longer provides financial support to these professional groups, the professional leading units can, by appointing their directors, always scrutinise their activities. In order to maintain their monopolistic status, professional groups do not, in most cases, seek to strengthen their independent status. This corporatist relationship between the state and the professional groups, a statist legacy, does not have a transitional existence, as many might believe. Attention should be paid to the following issue: within an institutional framework of such a magnitude, can a fresh concept and new model of mutual empowerment between the state and society be formed? Will it also push China’s civic space towards social corporatism?

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