More Third Sector, Less Civil Society

Civil Society Repression, Sometime Third-Sector Robustness, and the Moulding of the Nonprofit Sector in China

In the two articles that follow, we have quite different perspectives on civil society and the third sector in China. Professor Salmenkari provides one perspective: A boom in the nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) sector was evident in post-Covid China during my fieldwork in April–June 2023. After the Covid-19 lockdowns were lifted and the leadership change was […]

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Towards a Command Civil Society?

China’s Xi-Era Rules on Social Organising

What are the future possibilities for Chinese civil society? Practitioners and academics speak of optimism or pessimism—whether ‘spring’ will soon come or whether civil society organisations (CSOs) will remain in the depths of ‘winter’ (Zhu and Lu 2022). The tougher it seems for CSOs to survive, the more common such language becomes. In recent years, […]

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A Post-Covid Spring Has Come

The Latest NGO Boom in China

A boom in the nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) sector was evident in post-Covid China during my fieldwork in April–June 2023. After the Covid-19 lockdowns were lifted and the leadership change was completed in late 2022, there was an upsurge of NGO events, collaborations, and transnational networking. Live events, including NGO conferences and the Beijing Queer Film […]

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The Shanghai Lockdown as a Chronotope: The Biopolitics of Zero Covid, Auto-Immunisation, and the Security Discourse

Reading the Shanghai lockdown as a chronotope, this essay explores the biopolitical process of immunisation through an analysis of the Zero Covid policy in the context of the security discourse that has taken root in the People’s Republic of China over the past decade. By reviewing the voices of those who have expressed dissatisfaction with […]

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Outsourcing Repression: A Conversation with Lynette Ong

Outsourcing Repression: Everyday State Power in Contemporary China, Lynette Ong’s new book with Oxford University Press, provides an original and realistic analysis of the Chinese state’s control over society beyond the usual focus of the study of authoritarian states, such as on outright coercion or censorship. Her concept of ‘everyday state power’ sheds light on […]

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Lockdown Sound Diaries

Podcasting and Affective Listening in the Shanghai Lockdown

In the spring of 2022, Shanghai came under a new Covid-19 lockdown. In that period, the city was filled with desperate cries from ordinary citizens and digitised loudspeaker noises. Paying attention to the everyday soundscape, this essay focuses on what I call ‘lockdown sound diaries’. By examining 49 podcast episodes released between 27 March and 16 April 2022, it highlights women’s voices and food as a medium to reconnect people, arguing that lockdown sound diaries serve as defiant gestures to record ordinary voices and make fun out of bitterness in a time of uncertainty.

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Covid among Us: Viral Mobilities in Shenzhen’s Moral Geography

    The unity of our society is threatened by troublesome and restless minorities. 我们社会的团结遭到了一小撮滋扰生事、不安分守己的群体的威胁. — First example of how to use the expression ‘安分守己’ (‘remain in one’s proper sphere’) on the Baidu Chinese–English translation site (emphasis in the original)   A plumber was called to fix a toilet. It was a standard job, requiring […]

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Chinese Feminism Under (Self-)Censorship: Practice and Knowledge Production

This collection of six essays is developed from a webinar titled ‘(Self-)Censorship, Social Activism, and Chinese Feminist Scholarship’, which was held on 10 July 2020. Chinese feminism today faces increasing pressure for (self-)censorship at both domestic and international levels, on issues of social activism, the politics of identity, and the politics of representation. The webinar […]

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Sexuality, Feminism, Censorship

My own awakening began with the awakening of my awareness of sexual rights. The instinctive demands of sexuality drove my desire for individual rights. The most powerful motivation behind wanting to know about and understand rights was my desire to be able to have sex with dignity—to be respected during and after sex. I went […]

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