New Publication Examines the Role of State Mobilization for Volunteerism in China

December 14, 2021

In a new article published in the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Rong Zhao and Adam Lilly examined the role of state mobilization for volunteerism in China. Rong Zhao is a faculty affiliate of the Columbia China Center for Social Policy and an assistant professor in the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.

Using a nationally representative dataset, the 2012 Chinese General Social Survey, the authors examine how an individual’s employment affiliation with state-controlled institutions influences their probability to volunteer. The results show that the Chinese government not only directly mobilizes employees of the state system to volunteer but also has significant influence over the general population’s volunteering. This influence is mainly through the existence of Chinese Communist Party chapters in every corner of society, as well as the state’s direct and indirect control over social organizations that organize volunteer activities.

Based on these findings, the authors call for more critical analyses of volunteerism in China and caution researchers and practitioners to avoid an over-optimistic evaluation about the implications of the rapid growth in volunteering in Chinese society in recent years.

You can read the article here.

Columbia Affiliations
China Center for Social Policy