Course Code


Course Name

Selected Themes on Chinese Society


Friday 12:30PM - 03:15PM




Dr. WANG Xiaolu

Teaching Assistant

Wu Ka Wai

Course Description

More and more governments are taking actions to encourage social innovation with a view to leveraging resources in civil society to meet social needs. This course is designed to help students gain the knowledge of the third sector in the Chinese contexts (Mainland China and Hong Kong). In the course, we explore state-society relations by examining the roles of the third sector in public services, the development and governance of the third sector, and government actions to encourage social innovation and social entrepreneurship. The course also provides comparative analysis between the Chinese contexts and western liberal democracies with a view to highlighting how global trends on social economy (e.g., impact investing, social entrepreneurship) are adapted to Chinese contexts.

Course Outline

WEEK 1: Lecture 1 Introduction to the third sector and civil society

Definitions and sociological foundations

Readings: 2,13

WEEK 2: Lecture 2 Third sector regimes and state-society relations

The roles of third sector organizations in public services

Readings: 2,13

WEEK 3: Lecture 3 The third sector in Hong Kong

Statist-corporatist regime

Readings: 1,5,17

WEEK 4: Lecture 4 The third sector and social organizations in Mainland China 1

GONGOs, Minfei (nonprofit), societies, foundations

Readings: 6,12,18

WEEK 5: Lecture 5 The third sector and social organizations in Mainland China 2

Professionalization of social work, purchase of service, transfer of government functions

Readings: 6, 9, 18

WEEK 6: Lecture 6 The third sector and social organizations in Mainland China 3

State-society relations: From social management to social governance

Readings: 4, 7, 8, 10, 14,15,16

WEEK 7: Lecture 7 Urban commons

Community resilience

Readings: 19, 20

WEEK 8: Lecture 8 Case studies on local social service provision in Mainland China

Group work and presentation

WEEK 9: Lecture 9 Social entrepreneurship and social Innovation

Social enterprises and cross-country comparison

Readings: 3, 11

WEEK 10: Lecture 10 Case studies on commons in Mainland China

Group work and presentation

WEEK 11: Lecture 11 Government actions to build enabling ecosystems for social innovation

Comparison between UK, HK and Mainland China

Readings: 3

WEEK 12: Lecture 12 Case studies on social innovation incubators in
Hong Kong

Field visits to incubators at ChineseU (Yunus Centre), PolyU (DISI) and Good Lab

WEEK 13: Lecture 13 Global trends on impact and sustainability-oriented practices

Impact investing, social impact bonds, social procurement, urban commons and the like.


Assessment & Assignments

Attendance 10%
Participation 10%
[Group report on case study 1] 25%
[Group report on case study 2] 25%

Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed VeriGuide declaration that they are aware of the policies, regulations and procedures.