Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Laura M. Luehrmann, Ph.D. (Committee Chair); December Green, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Judson B. Murray, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


This thesis examines one angle of state-society relations in authoritarian states through the lens of Chinese nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and their legal environment. While grassroots organizations have not prompted political liberalization in China, they have not been entirely co-opted by the party-state either. Through an examination of policy changes, a study of 120 organizations, and a case study of a non-profit incubator, this thesis explores whether the political environment for China’s domestic NGOs varies by geographic region and issue area. The findings suggest there is not significant variation as the party-state has implemented standardized policies for increased control over civil society.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Political Science

Year Degree Awarded