Chinese society and culture

published: 28.11.2023

Social(ist) Security in China – who benefits, how, and why?

In the Hu Jintao era, China has built up a comprehensive social security system. The group of beneficiaries was extended from labor market insiders to the majority of the Chinese population. Even a growing number of foreigners working in China got insured, and several European governments signed social security agreements with the People’s Republic of China.

Prof. Jane Duckett and Dr. Matthias Stepan are experts on Chinese social politics, and close observers of the development trajectory of the Chinese social security system. In the online event, they gave a short introduction to China’s social security system as of 2023 and key programs, such as old-age pensions, health insurance, and social assistance.

The main part of the event was a discussion moderated by Prof. Jean-Louis Rocca. The discussion covered the following aspects: the driving forces for the expansion of the reach of the social security system, generosity and redistributive effects, differences between urban and rural areas, and potential new policy directions in the Xi Jinping era. Finally, the question how sustainable the system is in face of accelerated demographic ageing and a sluggish economy was addressed.