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This article explores the prospects for indigenous and foreign NGOs in post-Mao China. The structural complexity of the emerging NGO sector is illustrated by a typology of the new social organisations which have flourished in the last ten years. The author considers the factors favouring the expansion of this intermediary sector of quasi- and non-governmental activity, but also analyses the factors constraining the emergence in the near future of a vibrant NGO sector. Foreign NGOs eager to develop links at the forthcoming UN International Conference on Women should be prepared to work in conjunction with the Party/State and semi-official social organisations.

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