Volunteer development in Chinese universities

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Volunteerism has increased in China since the 1990s. It received widespread public attention in 2008 when many young people moved voluntarily across the country to take part in the Sichuan earthquake relief efforts. Their unexpected presence evoked debates over the growth of civil society in China. As China’s gross enrolment ratio in higher education is surpassing 30%, the university functions as an important venue for raising awareness and for voluntary work between youth and communities. The purpose of this paper is to explore the training and development of student volunteers in Chinese universities, mainly by policy analysis and reviews of local surveys among college student volunteers. How do the new volunteering programmes undertaken for college students differ from the traditional altruistic activities such as the 1960s ‘Learn from Lei Feng’ campaign? How does the Chinese government solve the dilemma of fostering volunteerism among youth and maintaining political and ideological control over them? How do the youth volunteer programmes influence the development of Chinese civil society?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Zhao, Z. (2011, October). Volunteer development in Chinese universities. Paper presented at the International Moral Education Conference (AME): Cultivating morality: Human beings, nature and the world, Nanjing International Conference Centre, Nanjing, China.


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