Government-organized non-governmental organization

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A government-organized non-governmental organization (GONGO) is a non-governmental organization that was set up or sponsored by a government in order to further its political interests and mimic the civic groups and civil society at home, or promote its international or geopolitical interests abroad.


The term GONGO had become established by the late 1980s,[1] and it was suggested that it was first introduced by a group of Indonesian non-governmental organizations.[2]

Most contemporary attempts to understand GONGOs have come from studies of authoritarian contexts, where these organizations have proliferated as a deliberative strategy by the state to have a (corporatist) mechanism that feeds directly into a grassroots civic space. It is thus unsurprising that the current theorizing on the nature of GONGOs primarily highlights their role in undermining liberal democratic values.[3][4] The Chinese Communist Party's United Front system is an example of such use of GONGOs.[5]


A GONGO can be created for any sound political or social purpose, however, in reality, it would be functioning as a mechanism of the government to further its domestic political interests and realize its economic and foreign policy objectives. Sometimes, GONGOs are created to solicit international aid, or mitigate specific humanitarian issues.[6] Though not necessarily confined to developing countries, most often, GONGOs are set up by undemocratic governments to maintain some level of control of a GONGO's personnel, purpose, operation or activities.[7][8][9] This control is often not seen in a positive light, as it compromises the spirit of an NGO by introducing hidden actors and withholding the government's intentions from the public.[7]


Examples of non-governmental organizations said to be government-organized:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brown LD, Korten D. 1989. The role of voluntary organizations in development. IDR Work. Pap. No. 8. Boston: Inst. Dev. Res./Boston Univ. Sch. Manage.
  2. ^ Radhamany Sooryamoorthy, K. D. Gangrade, Ngos in India: A Cross-Sectional Study, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001, ISBN 0313319545, ISBN 9780313319549
  3. ^ Naim, Moises (13 October 2009). "What Is a GONGO?". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 2015-01-04. Retrieved 2019-10-30.
  4. ^ Wiktorowicz, Quintan (January 2002). "The Political Limits to Nongovernmental Organizations in Jordan". World Development. 30 (1): 77–93. doi:10.1016/S0305-750X(01)00092-4.
  5. ^ Fedasiuk, Ryan (2022-04-13). "How China's united front system works overseas". The Strategist. Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Archived from the original on 2022-04-13. Retrieved 2022-04-15.
  6. ^ Natalie Steinberg. Background Paper on GONGOs and QUANGOs and Wild NGOs. World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Policy, 2001.
  7. ^ a b c Naím, Moisés. Democracy's Dangerous Impostors Archived 2019-10-01 at the Wayback Machine, The Washington Post, 21 April 2007.
  8. ^ F. Ching. Is it an NGO, or a GONGO?: New Chinese body rebuts US report on human rights, Far East. Econ. Rev., 1994.
  9. ^ F. Wu. Environmental GONGO autonomy: unintended consequences of state strategies in China, The Good Society, 2003.
  10. ^ Sotoudeh, Nazpari; Stefano, Erica (September 29, 2021). "Free speech risky as China keeps close tabs on its overseas students". Eurasianet. Archived from the original on September 29, 2021. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  11. ^ Jichang, Lulu (2022-09-01). "Propaganda and beyond: A note on the 2020 Confucius Institute reform" (PDF). Sinopsis. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-10-16. Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  12. ^ FONTANA, Lorenzo. "Parliamentary question | Relations between the Turkish Government and the IHH organisation | E-4551/2010 | European Parliament". Retrieved 2024-04-25.
  13. ^ "Turkish gov't-backed charity IHH forged alliance with India's militant PFI - Nordic Monitor". 2020-11-06. Retrieved 2024-04-25.
  14. ^ Surowiec, Paweł (Nov 2021). "Between Europeanisation and Corporatisation: Poland's Nation Branding and Soft Power for Public Consumption". East European Politics and Societies: and Cultures. 35 (4): 1106. ISSN 0888-3254.
  15. ^ "Polish public promotion scheme backfires". POLITICO. 2019-09-18. Retrieved 2024-05-09.

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