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Instead of claiming responsibility in caring for its citizens from cradle to grave, China now emphasizes ‘small government and big society’ in its allocation of social services. In one southwest province of China, as a result of the urban Community Residents Committee (CRC) Organization Acts of 1989, the CRC has become the core of social services in this region and is on the front line of social service delivery. This paper reports the results of a field study on the CRC at a number of pilot demonstration sites in this province. Focus group discussions were conducted in order to identify characteristics and patterns of committee members’ experiences. Thematic patterns undergirding the future development of urban community-based social services in China are identified and discussed.


Originally published in Community Development Journal, by Oxford University Press in 2009.

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