Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Comment to the Asia Pacific Foundation's "Canada-Asia News"

RE: "CHINA: Leading NGO Says Gov't Will Ban All Tobacco Advertising by 2011" (August 28)

The Chinese Association on Tobacco Control is not actually an NGO as NGOs are understood here in Canada. It is rather a GONGO (Government Organized "NGO") that is subject to the authority of the state, which in China is fully under the control of the Chinese Communist Party. The sine qua non of the non-government organization is that it freely exist in the civil public space separate from the governing apparatus. But the Chinese Communist Party has not defined any aspects of China's society as beyond its authority. The Chinese Association on Tobacco Control is an "official" Party organization sanctioned by the Chinese state's Ministry of Civil Affairs' registration process for "people's mass organizations." It is therefore a "front organization," not a freely formed association of concerned citizens. True NGOs remain illegal under Chinese law.

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