Scouting and Guiding in Mainland China
Since the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) by the Communist Party in 1949, Scouting has officially been banned, while the Young Pioneers of China and the Communist Youth League have become the dominant youth organization in mainland China for younger and older youth, respectively. Currently in mainland China, Scouting is found only in some international schools.
Hong Kong and Macau are special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China, with legal systems separate from that of the rest of the PRC. They are not usually included within the scope of the term "mainland China". Scouting is active in both Hong Kong and Macau.
Scouting existed in mainland China before 1949 under the Republic of China (ROC). In 1949, the ROC government retreated to Taiwan, where it remains today, and Scouting has continued in Taiwan under the name Scouts of China.
In 2004, the Scout Club of Hainan (海南童子军俱乐部), borrowing heavily from Scouting in terms of emblems, uniforms and activities, was founded in Hainan Province; it is, however, not affiliated to worldwide Scouting. An attempt to organize a nationwide Scouting organization in Wuhan was ended by the government in 2004.
Russian Scouts fleeing bolshevism followed White Russian émigrés from 1917 to 1922 through Vladivostok to the east into Manchuria and south into central China, where very large groups of thousands of Russian Scouts came into being in cities such as Harbin, Tientsin and Shanghai.
The General Association of the Scouts of China was formally established in Nanking in 1934, and became a member of the International Scout Bureau in 1937. Many Scouts actively participated in the Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945.
Registered membership reached 570,000 in 1941. However, all Scouting activities were interrupted in 1949, when the Chinese communists took over mainland China. The Chinese Scout Association was reorganized in 1950 after the ROC government was relocated to Taipei, and resumed the membership of International Scout Bureau as Scouts of China.
Since the transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong to PRC in 1997, The Scout Association of Hong Kong (SAHK) has been being actively organising exchange programmes in mainland China. In 2004, the SAHK, the Shenzhen Youth Federation and the Working Committee of Young Pioneers in Shenzhen organized the first joint camp with 490 Hong Kong and 360 Shenzhen participants. The SAHK hold five regional camps in mainland China in 2005: in Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, Jilin and the Inner Mongolia. All mainland China activities of the SAHK are coordinated via its "International and Liaison Branch".
A first local Scout organization emerged in the Tianjin municipality in 1997 mainly aimed at disadvantaged children. It was still active in January 2004 with 40 local groups and more than 4,000 members of both genders, but its actual status is unknown.
An attempt to start a nationwide Scouting organization in Wuhan was curtailed by the government in mid-2004. The website of the incipient organization continues to exist as an active community of people interested in the subject, but the organization has not been restarted.
Also in mid-2004, the Scout Club of Hainan was started in Hainan province. It borrows heavily from international Scouting in terms of its emblem, ideals, uniforms, and activities, and has organized frequent outdoor camps since its founding. It is, however, not affiliated to international Scouting.
Hong Kong and Macau
Hong Kong and Macau are special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China, i.e. with legal systems separate from that of mainland China (i.e. the rest of the country). The two territories were European possessions until 1997 and 1999 respectively. Scouting has continued after the transfers of sovereignty. In Hong Kong, The Scout Association of Hong Kong has 99,591 Scouts, and The Hong Kong Girl Guides Association has 40,576 Guides. In Macau Scouting is organised by The Scout Association of Macau, a WOSM associate member.
International Scouting units in mainland China
In addition, British Scouts have units of The Scout Association in various cities including Nanjing. USA Girl Scouts Overseas in the People's Republic of China are serviced by way of USAGSO headquarters in New York, with troops in Beijing, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shekou, Tianjin and Zhuhai.
As for BSA, there are both American Cub Scout packs and troops (boys and girls), in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. These units are part of the Asia West District under the Far East Council. Also, lone Scouts an option, linked to the Direct Service branch of the Boy Scouts of America, which supports units around the world.
Chinese Scouting ideals
References and notes
- http://www.apr.scout.or.jp/publications/inbox%20Dec%2002.htm accessed on June 12, 2006
- http://www.scout.org.hk/en/history/hohks/00002513.html accessed on June 12, 2006
- http://www.wagggsworld.org/en/about/chiefexecutive accessed on June 12, 2006
- http://www.china.org.cn/english/China/85680.htm acessed on June 12, 2006
Members of the Asia-Pacific Scout Region
Full members: Australia | Bangladesh | Bhutan | Brunei | Republic of China (Taiwan) | Fiji | Hong Kong | India | Indonesia | Japan | Kiribati | South Korea | Malaysia | Maldives | Mongolia | Nepal | New Zealand | Pakistan | Papua New Guinea | Philippines | Singapore | Sri Lanka | Thailand