This article by the Communist Party’s mouthpiece reviews the progress made by social organizations over the last decade. It cites President Hu Jintao’s 17th Party Congress speech in 2007 calling for a new social management structure under the principle of “the party leading, government taking responsibility, society coordinating and the public participating”. This new structure involves pluralizing and strengthening “social management”, one important component of which is promoting social organizations, the Chinese term for nonprofits or NGOs. Social organizations will play an increasingly important role in providing services to meet rising popular demands and resolving conflicts in an orderly manner.
However to say that social organizations should take on more of the functions of government in providing social services does not mean that social organizations can do so at this moment. According to one investigation carried out in Guangdong, only about 15 percent of the social organizations in that province had the capacity to bid for government services.
Since 2011, ten localities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong have carried out reforms to lower barriers for social organizations. But “loosening restrictions” over social organizations does not mean “becoming complacent”. Social organizations will continue to need government guidance and supervision.