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Make Social Organizations A Renowned Label of Shanghai on the International Stage
 
                                                  Fan Yufei

                                   The City Diplomacy of Shanghai
With the development of globalization, the behavioral agents of diplomacy are becoming more and more diversified. As the crystallization of human civilization and the focal points of national communication, cities are important behavioral agents of diplomacy. The role of behavior subjects of cities will become all the more significant, hence the concept ¡°city diplomacy¡± came into being. Melissen and Pluijm, scholars of Netherlands Institute of International Relations, argued that city diplomacy is a set of norms and processes made or conducted by city authorities or local governments, on behalf of the interest of their own cities and/or regions, for the development of relations with other behavioral agents on the international stage of politics. This concept was widely adopted by the western academic circle. Although there are disputes on the theoretical interpretation on the concept ¡°city diplomacy¡±, most people agree that the participants of city diplomacy include both people with official backgrounds, such as mayors, city-level representatives of the people, members of various municipal committees, civil servants and counselors, and people from non-governmental institutions, such as people¡¯s friendship organizations and circles of education, sports and culture, etc. The fields of city diplomacy activities involve security, development, economy, culture and the internet. City diplomacy is of relatively high autonomy. It can both share the heavy task of the national diplomacy and promote the development of the cities in return.
 
Across the world, cities with high competitiveness are all closely connected with the rest of the world, and every international metropolis is bound to have its diplomatic functions. City diplomacy can offer excellent development opportunities and broad stage for cities to carry out foreign exchanges. Shanghai adopted the concept of city diplomacy and expanded its connotation. The city diplomacy of Shanghai can be defined as the integrity of local foreign affairs and local public diplomacy. And it should adhere to ¡°three serves¡±, namely to serve the overall diplomatic deployment of the central government, to serve the social-economic development of Shanghai and to serve the ever growing demands of international exchange of Shanghai. The city diplomacy of Shanghai should integrate the strategies of ¡°going out¡± and ¡°inviting in¡± and showcase the image of Shanghai in an all-round and full dimensional way, so as to improve the image and comprehensive strength of Shanghai and help with the improvement of national image and international prestige of China.
 
The Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC proposed that solid steps be taken to carry out public diplomacy. City diplomacy should become the major development trend of the public diplomacy of Shanghai and popularity, reputation, acceptance are the indispensable aspects of the city diplomacy of Shanghai.
 
Non-governmental organizations are not only the media and targets of public diplomacy, but also the subjects of public diplomacy. Around the world, the rise of non-governmental organizations has had a significant impact on public diplomacy.
 
In recent years, the development of social organizations in Shanghai witnessed a strong momentum, with the number of registered social organizations surpassing 10,000 and every 10,000 permanent resident population boasting about 5 social organizations in average. With the number growing, the structure and quality of social organizations have also optimized dramatically¡ªthe numbers of organizations specialized in culture and social intermediary has surged; more and more full-time and young personnel are emerging in social organizations; people with higher learning background account for nearly 60 percent of the personnel of social organizations; number of returned personnel with more than half-year overseas study experience has increased several times over. The above developments laid a solid foundation and offered good conditions for the development of foreign exchange conducted by social organizations.
 
With the rapid development of internationalization of Shanghai, people are granted more and more opportunities to get in touch with the rest of the world, and the awareness of governments at all levels to promote the development of foreign exchange carried out by social organizations are also getting more and more entrenched. The foreign exchange of Shanghai social organizations featured strong willingness, great enthusiasm, wide range and assumed a healthy development momentum, which broadened the channels of foreign exchange of Shanghai, played a positive and complementary role for the social-economic development of Shanghai and has thus become an important force arousing the attention of the international community. The social organizations of Shanghai are capable of and have been becoming important subjects of the city diplomacy of Shanghai.
 
        Foreign Exchange Carried out by Social Organizations of Shanghai
The social organizations of Shanghai carry out frequent foreign exchanges¡ªthey not only actively take part in international activities and presenting themselves by ¡°going out¡±, but also, more frequently, organize various international events via the forms of project cooperation, forums, seminars and receptions by inviting foreign institutions, organizations and individuals to Shanghai so as to enhance mutual understanding. In addition, Shanghai is a hot choice for holding international conferences, which offered many more convenient channels of participating in international activities for local social organizations.
 
Trade union, the communist youth league, the women¡¯s federation and other traditional non-governmental organizations are of advantages in the aspects of resources, policy, finance, talents and capacities of taking actions and holding activities, and they are among the most typical representatives of behavioral agents of Shanghai social organizations in carrying out foreign exchanges and participating in international activities, thus setting a distinctive flag of city diplomacy of Shanghai. The Women¡¯s Day celebrating activities organized by Shanghai Women¡¯s Federation has been held annually and attracted the participation of both Chinese and foreign women. It has become a brand international women activity and boasts huge influence. Each year, Shanghai Women¡¯s Federation invites women celebrities from the international political, social, economy and other circles and organizes a series of international communication activities with great influence, such as theoretical seminars and ¡°For the Children¡± Shanghai International Forum, which not only promoted the healthy development of women and children¡¯s work of Shanghai, but also gave publicity to the great achievements of China in protecting the rights of women and children. Shanghai Association for Science & Technology strives to establish the network and platform for civil international scientific & technological cooperation. The Association took the initiative to invite the European Academy of Science Explanation and jointly launched the China Tour of Training Week of Science Explanation. The Week was targeted at cities in the Yangtze River delta and featured internationalized science popularization, which brought about good social repercussions.
 
Some social organizations in strong positions and with great influences, such as academic institutions, industry associations and foundations, make the most of their advantages in their corresponding fields and well interpreted the image of Shanghai from different perspectives. Shanghai Financial Association strove to promote the financial center building of Shanghai by holding a series of financial fairs both in China and abroad, and launching Shanghai Financial Index to the globe every half-a-year. Chamber of International Commerce Shanghai made the most of its resources by cooperating with foreign consulates located in Shanghai and making all-out efforts to promote the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone overseas, winning consistent praise from foreign institutions and enterprises. Taking advantage of its market-oriented and organizational operation, the Shanghai Promotion Center of City of Design established Park of Creative Industry in Italy, which boosted the reputation of Shanghai as a member of UNSCO creative cities in the category of design. Shanghai Overseas Foundation organized a series of activities in Europe, such as the ¡°Beauty of Tibet¡± painting contest, which enhanced the recognition and understanding of western people on the real situation of Tibet. The contest was described by some German politicians and media as ¡°it refrained from explaining a political issue with political languages, and refrained from explaining a sensitive issue with traditional propagating, yet it achieved extraordinary effects¡±.
 
The foreign exchange carried out by non-governmental social organizations is prone to be neglected in the past. However, with its rapid development and diversified forms, it is attracting more and more attention from western society and organizations, and has a better effect in publicizing the image of Shanghai. Shanghai United Foundation mainly raises money from the public and it belongs to a public-raising foundation which also works at supporting the development of other civil charity organizations. The Foundation believes that people are the most reliable and persistent driving force for the development of civil charity organizations, and catering to Shanghai¡¯s feature of being an international metropolis, the Foundation designed various activities via online and offline channels, such as the ¡°color run¡± renowned among foreign executives and white-collar workers, which not only extended real and reasonable charity ideas, but also contributed to the shaping of the charm of Shanghai in the minds of foreigners living in Shanghai. The Foundation also actively takes part in the reception of visiting foreign non-governmental organizations, which gives best interpretation with its real deeds on the supporting policies offered by the Chinese government to non-governmental organizations. The Raleigh Youth Welfare Development Center was the result of concerted efforts by local communities, partners, and volunteers with diversified backgrounds, nationalities and life stories. The Center not only devotes to the healthy and sustainable development of youth and children of Shanghai, but also extended their attention and love to some underdeveloped areas around the globe, such as Borneo of Malaysia, Costa Rica, the Republic of Nicaragua, India and Tanzania, by providing local communities with clean drinking water and sanitation facilities. It also advocates the protection of fragile natural environment and the shaping of a future of sustainable development with coordinated efforts of people from all over the world. With its core values of ¡°giving autistic children equal development opportunities¡± and ¡°happiness, love, respect, responsibility¡±, Xingyu Children¡¯s Hospital is the first non-profit social organization in Shanghai specialized in serving children with eccyliosis, especially autism. The founder of the hospital himself was a parent of an autistic child and since its founding, the hospital has been attracting the attention and keeping in close touch with related groups of both China and the rest of the world. The innovated community-based service model of the hospital has served as a mirror reflecting the development of Shanghai over the years, especially in terms of the work of helping the disadvantaged groups.
 
                       The Role of Government Departments
For social organizations, ¡°enhancing the communication of public opinions, the friendship between the people and cooperation in terms of people¡¯s livelihood¡± should become the important mission and major tasks of their job in international communication. Examined from the perspectives of both quantity and quality, there is still great potential of improvement for the job of foreign communication of social organizations of Shanghai. In April 2014, Shanghai adopted the new policy of direct registration for four types of social organizations, namely the industry associations and chambers of commerce, and organizations specialized in the fields of science & technology, public welfare, urban and rural community service. The easing of registration and administration not only provided better environment of development for social organizations, but also raised the demands on and standards of the service and management of international communication carried out by social organizations. In such circumstance, in order to make social organizations a renowned label of Shanghai on the international stage, what roles should the government departments, especially the department of foreign affairs play?
 
First, under the framework of rule of law, government departments should respect the subject status of social organizations and their rights to carry out foreign exchange. In addition, government departments should promote social organizations in strengthening their autonomy and independence, and help them gradually form the self-restricting mechanism featuring self-management, self-serving and self-discipline.
 
Second, under the guidance of the strategic deployment of the ¡°Belt and Road¡± of the central government and working around the general requirements of ¡°integrating policies, connecting infrastructures and facilities, facilitating trade, easing the flow of capital and linking up the hearts of people¡±, and making the best use of the comparative advantages of Shanghai, government departments should take advantage of their functions of foreign policy guidance and coordination, guide social organizations take the initiative in participating in and serving the strategy of ¡°One Belt and One Road¡± and bring into full play the strategic role of city diplomacy in serving the strategy of the ¡°Belt and Road¡±.
 
Third, government departments should strengthen the support, fostering and service to social organizations in carrying out international exchange, and create favorable environment and provide convenience in terms of policy, fund, channels, projects and training for social organizations to carry out foreign exchange and take part in international activities, thus making social organizations one of the major players of the city diplomacy of Shanghai. For instance, working around the central tasks such as the construction of ¡°four centers¡± (namely the economic, financial, shipping and trading center) of Shanghai, the building of a scientific innovation center with global influence, and promoting the further development of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, government departments can put aside special funds and compile project guide for supporting social organizations in carrying out purchase projects for international exchange and taking part in international activities involving the above fields. By taking advantage of resources of diplomacy and foreign affairs from government departments and embassies, government departments can also offer policy consultation and service for social organizations to participate in international activities and offer opportunities for grass-root social organizations in taking part in international exchange, including establishing foreign-related visiting spots for social organizations and supporting them to take part in international activities and going abroad. Last but not least, government departments could launch the special program of foreign-affair-talent training for social organizations. The founders or operators of many of the social organizations in Shanghai were highly educated young people with ambition and capability, some of them once learned abroad. Most of them chose to devote themselves to social organizations for their common social ideas and values, and they are of great potential for conducting foreign-related affairs or jobs. Government departments could work to cultivate foreign-affair-talent in social organizations of some important fields, such as public welfare, charity, economy, science & technology, health care, education, sports, environmental protection, and set up more typical examples and role models of taking part in international activities from the circle of social organizations. By offering them more training opportunities, more funds, more practice opportunities in terms of foreign exchange, and helping to broaden their international horizon, they can contribute to the improvement of the capacity and influence of social organizations and play a leading role in foreign exchange activities of social organizations.
 
 
             (Fan Yufei, Deputy Director of Foreign Affairs Office of Shanghai Municipal People¡¯s Government, Council Member of CAFIU)
 
 
 
 
 
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