With a population of 1.4 billion people, China is undergoing perhaps the largest scaleurbanization in human history and experiencing a great transformation towardmodernization. Against this background, a multidisciplinary research team fromTsinghua University initiated a social governance experiment in the Qinghe subdistrictof Beijing in 2014. This expert-led social intervention and research project has beenknown as the New Qinghe Experiment (NQE), to distinguish it from an earlier Qingheexperiment, which focused on rural development, conducted by a group of Yenchingsociologists in the period of 1928–1937. The goal of the NQE is to identify and solvesocial problems existent in urban communities, and to explore a new governance modelfor urban communities in highly populated mega-cities such as Beijing. In this paper,we lay out the challenges faced by local communities in urban China and introduce theNQE’s pilot projects and working mechanisms. We conclude that the NQE is of importanttheoretical and practical significance as an innovative model of social governance.
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