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Much support should be given to social organizations

By Zhang Wei, Miao Guo and Hou Mengting | 2014-09-22 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)


Too much control over social organizations could pose an impediment to their development.


In the relief efforts that followed the earthquake in Ludian County, Yunnan Province, different kinds of social organizations played a sig­nificant role. Social organizations have become an agent for perform­ing some government functions, an instrument of social policy and a provider of social services. How­ever, as uncertainties arise in the reform and transition, obstacles still exist for the development of social organizations.


First, there exists a low level of socialization and over-dependence on government resources. Many social organizations have insuf­ficient autonomy, with limited con­trol over human resources, prop­erty and substances. As a result, they lack social responsibility, and they have inadequate awareness and ability to manage themselves.


Second, laws are outdated, and there is a lack of fair systems. Regu­lations for social organizations are lagging far behind economic and social development, bringing disorder to the operation of social organizations and difficulty to gov­ernment supervision.


Third, development is unsus­tainable due to an overemphasis on quantity. In many places, social organizations, regardless of the ac­tual needs, have been established in large quantities while their qual­ity and sustainable development are neglected.


Fourth, there does not exist a wholesome mechanism for co­operation and competition. To modernize social governance, it is essential to enhance cooperation among social organizations, espe­cially non-profit projects, so that they can share resources, provide mutual help and realize synergistic development.


In light of these problems, strate­gies should be adopted to update the mode of development of social organizations, promote coopera­tion between them and the govern­ment, and shift the role of govern­ment from regulator to service provider.


Modern social governance advo­cates that social affairs should be solved by society. According to this perspective, much support should be given to third-party and non-profit organizations with special emphasis on grassroots self-govern­ance.


Registration for social organi­zations should be improved. In addition to guidance from the government, supervision from the government, the market and the public are needed to guarantee healthy competition in which better services are encouraged while infe­rior ones are eliminated. We should also increase financial investments, introduce tax incentives and extend more public resources and fields to social organizations.


Special attention should be given to the development of non-profit and charitable organizations. Chi­nese government should foster well-regulated industry associations and chambers of commerce with social credibility by focusing on emerging, pillar and competitive industries. Emphasis should also be put on social organizations in science and technology to advance academic studies and theoretical innovations.


Furthermore, management and self-discipline within social organi­zations should be strengthened. And it is important to clarify the responsi­bilities of social or­ganizations as legal persons. An open and just evaluation system is needed for motivation and restriction. It is also necessary to protect the rights of donors, beneficiar­ies and the public of knowing essential information about social organiza­tions.


In a word, more space should be given to the development of social organizations in order to strengthen their role in political participation and promoting social harmony. To modernize social governance, the key is to mobilize all parties to take part in social governance and devel­opment.


Zhang Wei, Miao Guo and Hou ­Mengting are from the Institute of Sociology at Jiangsu Provincial Academy of Social Sciences.


The Chinese version appeared in Chinese Social Sciences Today, No. 643, September 5, 2014.

Translated by RenJingyun