The 2008 Sichuan earthquake was one of the deadliest natural disasters in China’s recent history, and it inspired unprecedented activism in China. This article shows that one important yet overlooked path to the development of new NGOs in Sichuan was a massive transfer of resources and personnel from other provincial governments. Pairing richer provinces with poorer ones to spur development was already a PRC practice and was immediately implemented when the earthquake struck; transferred officials with experience working with NGOs in their own provinces brought such NGOs with them, helped to create new organizations in Sichuan, and facilitated cooperation between local officials and NGO activists—a scenario neglected in earlier studies. The disaster provided an opportunity for local governments in Sichuan to learn how to outsource social service programs to cooperative NGOs, in line with recent policy elsewhere in China.
Gao, H. (2019). Cross-province state aid and the development of NGOs after the 2008 sichuan earthquake. China Journal, 82(1), 71–87. https://doi.org/10.1086/701376