The Government's Needs Versus the Demands of Labor: A Case Study of Organizing by Labor NGOs in China

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


NGOs in China have increasingly become constrained by government policies and crackdowns. The government understands labor NGOs in particular as a source of instability within Chinese society. This has led to a transformation in the third sector landscape, as many labor NGOs have ceased operations or transformed into “community service organizations.” This chapter employs narrative theory to present a case study of Inno, a labor NGO in the Guangdong province, with the aim to understand the communication strategies Inno employs when interacting with three key stakeholders: the government, their service population (migrant workers), and the media. The study finds that amid the tightening of the administration’s policies, labor NGOs can only delay the moment of government suppression, even when they have adopted effective passive communication strategies. Second, the relationship between labor NGOs and workers have become more challenging, so Inno has had to find new ways to communicate with their key population. In particular, the NGO employs carefully crafted narratives to shape their public perception as well as that of various other institutions. Lastly, Inno has resorted to severing alliances with the news media as a survival strategy to keep up operations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Perspectives on NGO Communication for Social Change
EditorsGiuliana Sorce
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781003188636
ISBN (Print)9781032037134
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Communication Studies


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