chapter  13
Volunteer Development in Chinese Universities
ByZHAO ZHENZHOU
Pages 14

With China’s move away from the totalitarian legacy of communism, volunteerism has been rising in the emerging civil society since the late 1980s. Faced with the fl ourishing of volunteerism particularly in urban areas, Chinese authorities have adopted a proactive strategy of regulating, monitoring, and promoting to make it serve their own purposes. There appear to be two motivating forces behind the governments’ embrace of youth volunteerism. First, volunteers and the civil society organisations can help shoulder the governments’ responsibility in social security and welfare provision, in which both central and local authorities have shunned their responsibilities since the 1980s. The participation of non-government forces in the public welfare realm will benefi t social cohesion and harmony. Second, volunteerism can be packaged as an alternative form of political education to replace old-fashioned ideological inculcation. Government-initiated volunteer projects may facilitate the socialisation of youth into the politics and values of the Party-state. Meanwhile, volunteerism appears to off er a solution to the social and psychological problems of young people situated within China’s rapid social changes, such as materialism, lack of social responsibility, depression. and suicide (Johnson et al. 2007; Rolandsen 2008; Zhang and Lin 2008). As articulated in a policy issued by the Ministry of Education in 2009, the Opinion on Further Improving Student Voluntary Activities, volunteer training is an essential component of political-ideological education for college students and adults.