China’s social policy response to COVID-19

The article focuses on how Chinese social policy has responded to the COVID-19 crisis until June 2020. "The explosiveness and severity of the pandemic crisis and its unpredictable as well as astronomical social costs have strengthened the model of 'big government' in the Chinese case with massive state intervention in society and the economy," Tao Liu and his co-authors state. The crisis "has further legitimated hyper-normal and, in some cases, nationwide and large-scale extralegal intervention policy." In order to mitigate social suffering and to guarantee political stability, different types of social policy programmes have been combined and synthesized, including social insurance, social assistance, and social welfare arrangements. "For the first time, social policy in China has acted as a major player for coping with the negative outcomes of a pandemic," the authors conclude.

The authors state that China is making a great effort to overcome the crisis. Nevertheless, they criticise the measures. For example, not even half of the urban working population is insured against unemployment. Moreover, the amounts paid out are low despite a surplus of 82 billion US dollars accumulated over the years. In the area of social assistance, many domestic migrant workers had problems registering because they could not travel to their home towns in time.

The full paper can be read and downloaded here free of charge.


Prof. Dr. Tao Liu