It is my privilege to introduce this special issue on current developments in public policy relating to the nonprofit sector in China, co-edited by Mr Qun Wang of Indiana University and Prof. Xiaoguang Kang of Renmin University in Beijing. This is a particularly important time to examine this subject for several reasons, for people in China and worldwide. To begin with the obvious, China is an ascendant country, growing in economic and political importance in the world, and as some authors in this issue point out, its government is increasingly looking outward to influence developments not only internally but also abroad. This includes the nonprofit sector where China is shaping its own model and role for social organizations in its system of public service delivery and public policy.
It is not just these general trends that make this a propitious time for this issue. Rather, there seems to be something quite special about this moment. Internally, China has made important changes to its constitution quite recently, allowing further concentration of power in the office of the president and party chairman. And it has newly embarked on policies to embrace social organizations within the Communist party so that all elements work in harmony, while dissident elements are disallowed. Externally China has made significant changes in its foreign policy, with its One Belt, One Road approach and related elements intended to promote the Chinese model of political and economic organization in the international arena.
All of this plays out on a world stage where autocracy is a growing concern in Central Europe, Southeast Asia, Turkey, Russia, and even the United States. In many countries, this has resulted in repression of nonprofits, especially in the field of policy advocacy. In China, the situation seems more nuanced. There is a great deal of interest in social organizations as a more effective and efficient means to improve the welfare of Chinese citizens, but China also struggles with how much freedom social organizations can be granted in order to fulfill their social missions without violating the boundaries of regulation and expression established by the government and the Chinese Communist Party.
I thank all of the distinguished Chinese, American, and European scholars who have contributed to this special issue, and I want to particularly acknowledge the outstanding efforts of Qun Wang and Xiaoguang Kang in organizing this issue and seeing it to fruition.
I think readers will find this issue edifying, with insights into the evolution of nonprofits in China at this critical time in Chinese and world history.
As always, this issue is rounded out with a feature section, here an insightful review by John Tyler of an important new book Regulating Charities: The Inside Story by Myles McGregor-Lowndes and Bob Wyatt.
I want to take this opportunity to announce that Nonprofit Policy Forum has gained two new financial sponsors. We are extremely pleased to welcome the Stockholm Center for Civil Society Studies of the Stockholm School of Economics and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of Case Western Reserve University. They join the Urban Institute, the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, ARNOVA and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation as our financial sponsors. These generous institutions allow Nonprofit Policy Forum to be published in open access form so that it is universally accessible to the communities of scholars, practitioners and policymakers worldwide.
Next, I wish to thank all of the volunteer reviewers whose peer review services help assure the fine quality of the papers published here. In 2017, these reviewers were Alan Abramson, Sal Alaimo, Michal Almog-Bar, Shena Ashley, Jo Barraket, Andrea Bassi, Rene Bekkers, Laura Bloomberg, Elizabeth Boris, Oonagh Breen, Eleanor Brilliant, John Butcher, Thad Calabrese, John Casey, Jennifer Chandler, Daniel Yuan Cheng, Ram Cnaan, Kate Cooney, Ryan T. Cragun, Gemma Donnelly-Cox, Jim Ferris, Julie Fisher Melton, Rob Fischer, Peter Frank, Rachel Fyall, Richard G. Frank, Beth Gazley, David Hammack, Katie Herrold, Chien-chun Huang, Renee Irvin, Jasmine Johnson, Kevin Kearns, Mirae Kim, Jack Krauskopf, Rachel Laforest, Ellyn Lefko, Helen Liu, Jiahuan Lu, Jim Marton, Myles McGregor-Lowndes, Stuart Mendel, Carl Milofsky, Brent Never, Alex Nicolls, Jennifer Onyx, Kathy Palumbo, Simon Poledrini, Patrick Rooney, Judith Saidel, Jodi Sandfort, Mark Schlesinger, Al Slivinski, Steve Rathgeb Smith, Roger Spear, Rich Steinberg, Melissa Stone, David Suarez, Simon Teasdale, Jessica Teets, Stefan Toepler, Joannie Tremblay-Boire, Kelechi Uzochukwu, Isabel Vidal, Melissa Walker, Qun Wang, Mindy Wertheimer, Linda White, Filip Wijkstrom, Rachel Wimpee, Jennifer Wolch, Jon Van Til, Zhihen Zang, Changdong Zhang, Zhibin Zhang, and Oliver Zunz.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge the good work of our volunteer managing editor Linda Serra, and the staff at our publisher De Gruyter, Inc., including Scott Whitener, Alex Goerlt and Spencer McGrath, without whose superb efforts this journal could not aspire to excellence.
Dennis R. Young