The Catholic University of America

Opening Space for Civil Society in China: Can the United States Help?


Description: This symposium at the National Press Club on Feb. 8, 2011, brought together five experts to offer an informal report card on the current state of civil society in China. Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have grown in numbers and influence in China for 25 years. Today, such organizations have a complicated and by no means assured relationship with the communist party and the nation’s leadership – they are supported in some instances and repressed in others. The panelists, including a former United States ambassador, discussed how civil society initiatives can flourish today, what obstacles they face, and how the United States might use its “soft” power to assist the growth of civil society in China.