NGOs in East and Southeast Asia

Authored by: Lei Xie , Joshua Garland

Routledge Handbook of NGOs and International Relations

Print publication date:  April  2019
Online publication date:  April  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138285507
eBook ISBN: 9781315268927
Adobe ISBN:


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East and Southeast Asia have an extensive civil society and NGOs sector. In the decade beginning at the end of the 1990s, there was a tide of NGOs mushrooming in policy arenas concerning the environment and human rights. There has also been a boom in the number of multinational NGOs operating or headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region (Glasius et al., 2002; Union of International Associations, 2010). By the end of 2013, there were over 500,000 registered NGOs in China. Among them, those registered between 1988 and 2013 account for the majority of groups (Tai, 2015). The number of international NGOs (INGOs) has also significantly grown in many Asian countries, including in Vietnam where it has been estimated that fewer than 10 existed in the late 1980s, rising to almost 500 registered INGOs in 2000 (van Phuc et al., 2002; Luong, 2006). Even in China where the political system is restrictive, the presence of international NGOs is similarly high with it being estimated that by 2005 there were about 3,000 to 6,500 INGOs within the country. These groups are often found to work in the social, educational, or health service sectors, as well as on environmental, women, and migrant worker issues which represent some of the key areas of interest in this region (Weller, 2006).

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