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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. Currently the form of social welfare is in between 40-75% according to their means of production.[citation needed]

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. While rural residents traditionally were expected to provide for themselves,[1] in 2014 the Chinese Communist Party announced reforms aimed at providing rural citizens access to historically urban social programs.[2]

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 by 2.9 million people or 10 percent; those with a per capita income of less than 924 RMB (US$111.64) decreased by 6.4 million people or 11.4 percent, according to statistics from the State Council’s Poverty Reduction Office.[3]

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.[4]

Furthermore, for many of the minority groups, there are some benefits available.[5]

During July 2020, Beijing social security center put restrictions on the social security withholding and payment, which was allowed to be operational previously via third party organizations.[6][7]

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. ^ Chan, K. W. (2015). Five Decades of the Chinese Hukou System. In Handbook of Chinese Migration: Identity and Wellbeing (pp. 23-47). Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc.
  3. ^ Inc, IBP (2013-04-04). China Labor Laws and Regulations Handbook Volume 1 Strategic Information and Basic Laws. ISBN 978-1-4387-8054-2. ((cite book)): |last= has generic name (help)
  4. ^ "The long march to universal coverage: lessons from China" World Bank, January 2013
  5. ^ Sautman, p. 77. Three principles are the basis for the policy: equality for national minorities, territorial autonomy, and equality for all languages and cultures.
  6. ^ "Beijing Tightens Social Insurance Filing Services by Third-Party HR Agency". China Briefing News. 2020-08-13. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  7. ^ "Beijing Cancels Social Security Withholding & Payment Business". HROne. 2020-07-21. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
Further reading