This paper examines the potential role of civic environmental NGOs in China's democratisation. Based on interviews with 31 NGO officials, the paper examines the origins, structures, and functions of civic environmental NGOs in China. It also examines how various political and resource constraints have shaped their development. While having made progress in organising educational campaigns and specific conservation projects, civic environmental NGOs have been less successful in influencing government decisions and official behaviours. Most recently, some NGOs have made limited progress on these fronts by maintaining a largely non-oppositional stance towards government and by utilising various formal and information channels for influencing government decisions. NGO leaders will have to negotiate with different party-state entities in defining their precise roles in the political process.
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