Though the Chinese term shequ originated from the translation of the English word community, the operational definition and function of shequ is rather different from that of the community in western societies. For this reason, shequ instead of community is used throughout this paper. Shequ is defined as an urban precinct under the governance of the street office, which is the lowest level of urban governance in mainland China (henceforward PRC) (Wong, 1992). Shequ was created by the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) in the late 1980s to replace danwei, meaning an employment union, which previously held the traditional social welfare responsibilities in urban PRC areas (Derleth and Koldyk, 2004; Wu et al., 2005). In the Memorandum on Promoting Urban Shequ Construction throughout the Nation...

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