Written by Matthias Stepan.
Social policy is one of the policy fields that remain firmly in the hands of the State Council. In the nearly four years of the Xi-Li Administration, China has made headway in this policy field: social policy programs, such as health insurance and old age pensions have reached nearly universal coverage; levels of social transfers and government subsidies have risen continuously. However, the most important achievement of the administration is the consolidation of the large number of programs that served different groups defined by their household registration (户口hukou) or occupation. In 2014 almost all localities merged the urban resident pension social insurance program and the new type rural pension social insurance program under the label of Urban and Rural Residents’ Basic Pension Insurance. At about the same time, employees in public service units (事业单位shiye danwei), e.g. university staff, have been stripped of privileges. They no longer enjoy higher levels of benefits than regular enterprise employees without paying contributions. Instead they are now insured under the same social insurance programs. Continue reading “How sustainable is China’s social security system?”