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Third Sector Organizations: A Form of Law Enforcement in China

NCJ Number
Crime Prevention and Community Safety: An International Journal Volume: 5 Issue: 1 Dated: 2003 Pages: 47-60
Toby Ho
Date Published
This article discusses the third sector organization as a form of law enforcement in modern China.
Third sector organizations (TSOs) are regarded as intermediaries, providing for various kinds of social services for society. There has been little analysis of the third sector in relation to China. China’s TSOs act not only as social service providers but also as social watchmen or a form of law enforcement. China has treated TSOs as agencies of law enforcement to aid in crime prevention and to maintain community safety. Traditionally, TSOs were run under various forms of structural control, which changed over different eras. TSOs were classified according to four principles: locality, occupation, fellowship, and common cause. Despite the reshuffle of societal components through the process of socioeconomic hegemony in the People Republic of China’s early period, TSOs still played a law enforcement role. These organizations are generally called danwei. Whether people work in administrative work units, enterprise units, or nonprofit business units, each person is organized into the accommodation network. In this network, danwei residents are managed and constrained by the street office, the police station, the supply station, and the Residents’ Committee. The Residents’ Committee is composed of six subcommittees: mediation, security and defense, social welfare, public hygiene, women and family planning, and labor service station. All these organizations provide social services in general and law enforcement in particular. Although political and economic reforms have reduced the level of intrusive behavior on the part of the Residents’ Committees, the danwei’s law enforcement role has not yet declined. The danwei has reinforced its law enforcement role to achieve the effect of crime prevention and community safety. 2 tables, 5 notes, 52 references