They have historically culled a group of enthusiasts that generally like to troll for interesting issues to solve in their spare time, but not much "communal" spirit was extended beyond that. However, these are the heart of the open source community in China, a community that is more devoted to work than to contributing.
Although these groups do form a foundation, they are at risk to new groups rising, groups with commercial interests, groups looking to fill the void that plagues the open source industry in China. These groups are Turbo Linux's Whitefin and Red Flag's Linux-Ren. These aren't the only groups being commercially sponsored, more are forth coming.
The government, I learnt, as well as universities are also forming communities, which are sponsored and intended to attract talented developers, or more, to point the contributors to the cause of the sponsor. The government mainly funds the top open source companies in China--those being Red Flag, Turbo Linux and Sun Wah, and these groups in turn need to devote a portion of their funding to the government initiative to promote skills in this area. It makes sense because how can the government grow its infrastructure if there is no skilled labor to develop and support it?
So, what we have now are competing communities, and those communities that existed previously will be seriously in danger of losing traffic. Why? Because of the Chinese mentality, specifically in the information technology Industry, to follow the money. These "sponsored" groups are good in one sense because they will popularize focus on "community" and draw attention to the need for skilled labor in this area, but they are also dangerous to the community because the focus is not on contribution and creativity.