Social welfare in China

Social welfare in China has undergone various changes throughout history. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security is responsible for the social welfare system.

Welfare in China is linked to the hukou system. Those holding non-agricultural hukou status have access to a number of programs provided by the government, such as healthcare, employment, retirement pensions, housing, and education. Meanwhile, rural residents are generally expected to provide for themselves.[1]

In pre-1980s reform China, the socialist state fulfilled the needs of society from cradle to grave. Child care, education, job placement, housing, subsistence, health care, and elder care were largely the responsibility of the work unit as administered through state-owned enterprises and agricultural communes and collectives. As those systems disappeared or were reformed, the "iron rice bowl" approach to welfare changed. Article 14 of the constitution stipulates that the state "builds and improves a welfare system that corresponds with the level of economic development.

In 2004 China experienced the greatest decrease in its poorest population since 1999. People with a per capita income of less than 668 renminbi (RMB; US$80.71) decreased 2.9 million or 10 percent; those with a per capita income of no more than 924 RMB (US$111.64) decreased by 6.4 million or 11.4 percent, according to statistics from the State Council’s Poverty Reduction Office.

Welfare reforms since the late 1990s have included unemployment insurance, medical insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, maternity benefits, communal pension funds, individual pension accounts, universal health care,[2] and a carbon tax.[3]

A law approved February 2013 will mandate a nationwide minimum wage at 40% average urban salaries to be phased in fully by 2015.[4]

China introduced the one-child policy decades ago, and this has helped reduce the strain on the government resources and economy. At present, the rules are modified and people can have more than one child, provided they pay a fee. This fee goes into funding necessary infrastructure or anything else the government deems fit.

Furthermore, for many of the minority groups, there are some benefits available. The one-child policy in China also does not apply to these minority groups.

See also


  1. ^ Young, J. (2013). Ch. 2. In China's Hukou System: Markets, Migrants and Institutional Change (pp. 27-64). New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.
  2. ^ "The long march to universal coverage: lessons from China" World Bank, January 2013
  3. ^ "China to introduce carbon tax: official" Xinhua, February 19, 2013
  4. ^ "China promises rise in minimum wage to close income gap" BBC, 6 February 2013
Further reading

External links

Credibility thesis

The credibility thesis is a proposed heterodox theoretical framework for understanding how societal institutions or social rules come about and evolve. It posits that institutions emerge from intentional institution-building but never in the originally intended form. Instead, institutional development is endogenous and spontaneously ordered and institutional persistence can be explained by their credibility, which is provided by the function that particular institutions serve rather than their theoretical or ideological form. The credibility thesis can be applied to explain, for example, why purported institutional improvements do not take hold as part of structural adjustment programs, while other economies in the developing world deliver growth despite absence of clear and strong market mechanisms such as indisputable private property rights or clearly delineated and registered land tenure.

Housing in China

In recent years, housing development has ballooned in China as its economy has developed. Since 1978, the government has promoted the commercialization of housing in urban areas. Property development has become big business in China, with new cities and suburbs springing up with new apartments.


Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Further, institutions can refer to mechanisms of social order, which govern the behaviour of a set of individuals within a given community. Moreover, institutions are identified with a social purpose, transcending individuals and intentions by mediating the rules that govern living behavior. According to Geoffrey M. Hodgson, it is misleading to say that an institution is a form of behavior. Instead, Hodgson states that institution are “integrated systems of rules that structure social interactions”.The term "institution" commonly applies to both informal institutions such as customs, or behavior patterns important to a society, and to particular formal institutions created by entities such as the government and public services. Primary or meta-institutions are institutions such as the family that are broad enough to encompass other institutions.

Institutions are a principal object of study in social sciences such as political science, anthropology, economics, and sociology (the latter described by Émile Durkheim as the "science of institutions, their genesis and their functioning"). Institutions are also a central concern for law, the formal mechanism for political rule-making and enforcement.

Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security

Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) of the Government of the People's Republic of China is a ministry under the State Council which is responsible for national labor policies, standards, regulations and managing the national social security. This includes labor force management, labor relationship readjustment, social insurance management and legal construction of labor. The State Bureau of Civil Servants reports to the new ministry.

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Social welfare in Asia
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