The Chinese new middle class and green NGOs in South China : Vanguards of guanxi (connections)-seeking, laggards in promoting social causes?

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-169
Journal / PublicationChina: An International Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


By examining the emerging Chinese new middle class as well as green non-governmental organisations (NGOs), this study finds that while the emergence of the Chinese new middle class facilitates the growth of green NGOs, the Chinese new class are not activists or agitators working against the government. Based on in-depth interviews with leaders of green NGOs in Guangdong Province, this research examines why green NGOs founded by the Chinese new middle class do not call for or advocate environmental protection. It concludes that contrary to conventional wisdom, the Chinese new middle class is a vanguard of guanxi (connections)-seeking, but a laggard in promoting environmental protection and civil-society activism. Green NGOs are principally used as a tool to cultivate social capital in the form of guanxi in order to promote personal material interests.