Perspectives on the social security system of China

The essential aim of the present study is an integrated understanding, in its relevant historical context, of the past, present and projected development of the social security system of China. In order to do so, an assessment is made of each of the benefit programmes administered either directly or indirectly under the auspices of the government, including both the social insurance programmes under the supervision of the MOLSS and the social assistance programme administered by the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MOCA). These aspects form the subjects of, respectively, Chapters 1 and 2. Chapter 3 offers a social protection development agenda, designed to address strategic issues and possible directions which policy makers may wish to consider for the optimal delivery of social protection to the people of China.

One of the most significant challenges today for Governments around the world is to ensure the availability of employment, in conditions of decent work, to every member of the working-age population who seeks it. Nowhere is this challenge greater in scope, diversity and intensity than in the People’s Republic of China. At the same time, as the country’s economy grows rapidly and adjusts to the demands of the global market place, the system of social security for China’s 700 million workers has also entered an ongoing period of transformation. Over the last decade, the evolution of China’s enterprise system towards a recognizable market economy has been mirrored quite naturally in a transformation of its social security provisions from an enterprise-based system of social support to one following the principles of public social insurance.