Zheng Su, Shiqi Ma and Changdong Zhang
The China Quarterly, Volume 251, September 2022
Abstract: How do non-governmental organizations (NGOs) advocate public policies? What impacts their advocacy strategies? Although scholars have addressed these questions in a democratic context, less is known about NGO advocacy under powerful authoritarian regimes. Using China as a case study, we develop an institutional explanation of NGOs’ policy advocacy patterns and explore the impacts of NGO autonomy. Using a unique dataset of registered NGOs in three Chinese provinces, we find that NGOs with more autonomy tend to conduct direct negotiations with the government more actively (more political advocacy). However, these more autonomous NGOs are likely to be more hesitant to mobilize society from the bottom up (less social advocacy). These findings enrich our knowledge of social actors’ roles in the policymaking process in China.