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The China Quarterly

Volume 201


Special Section on Social Insurance in China


pp 1 -19

Redistributive Nature of the Chinese Social Benefit System: Progressive or Regressive?  

Qin Gao

AbstractUsing nationally representative household survey data and a revealing statistical method, this article investigates the redistributive nature of the Chinese social benefit system within urban and rural areas respectively and in the national context. Like many other dimensions of Chinese society, the redistributive nature of social benefits appeared to be a two-sided story: urban social benefits were much more generous and predominantly progressive, while rural social benefits were minimal and consistently regressive. The national social benefit system was redistributed regressively, but the extent of its regressivity decreased over time, suggesting an equity-oriented policy direction echoed by several recent government initiatives to support rural residents, migrants and the urban poor. The outcomes of these initiatives, especially their redistributive effects, require close observation and await evaluation.




pp 20 -37

On the Edge between “the People” and “the Population”: Ethnographic Research on the Minimum Livelihood Guarantee  

Mun Young Cho

AbstractThis article examines how local resistance against government attempts to reduce poverty to a technical problem ironically reinforces the precarious state of the poor. It looks at the workings of the minimum livelihood guarantee (dibao) through mundane interactions between street-level officials and poor residents in a workers' village on the periphery of Harbin. As the party-state's primary policy for urban poverty, dibao has introduced a new rationality that poverty is calculable and flexible. Urban laid-off workers have resisted this by invoking the socialist claim that they are “the people.” I examine how this resistance has led street-level officials to be preoccupied with the old socialist norm of “an ability to work” rather than with “income” as dibao's official criterion. The new local criterion has produced the ironic effect that urban laid-off workers, who were understood to be dibao's main target, have been mostly excluded from the scheme.




pp 38 -57

What is New in the “New Rural Co-operative Medical System”? An Assessment in One Kazak County of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region   

Sascha Klotzbücher

Peter Lässig

Qin Jiangmei

Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik

AbstractIn 2002, the Chinese leadership announced a change in national welfare policy: Voluntary medical schemes at county level, called the “New Rural Co-operative Medical System” should cover all counties by 2010. This article addresses the main characteristics of this system, analyses the introduction of local schemes based on our own field studies in one Kazak county of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region since 2006, and argues that the fast progressing of the local scheme and the flexibility shown by local administrators in considering structural and procedural adjustments are not the result of central directives but of local initiatives. Recentralization from the township governments to functional departments in the provincial and the central state administration is only one aspect of current rural governance. Complementary forms of locally embedded responsiveness to the needs of health care recipients are crucial in restructuring the administration and discharge of health care. These new modes of governance are different from the hierarchical control and institutionalized representation of interests of the local population.






pp 58 -78

Civil Service Reform in China: Impacts on Civil Servants' Behaviour

John P. Burns

Wang Xiaoqi

AbstractChina's civil service reforms sought to improve the performance of civil servants by introducing more competitive selection processes, incentives to reward performance, and tightened monitoring and supervision. The impact of the reforms was undermined by clashes with other policies being implemented at the time and by a failure to address elements of organization culture that have rewarded various forms of illegal behaviour, such as corruption. Empirical material for our study is drawn from government data and the experience of civil service reform in three Chinese urban areas (Beijing's Haidian district, Changchun and Ningbo) since the 1990s.




pp 79 -103

Gauging the Elite Political Equilibrium in the CCP: A Quantitative Approach Using Biographical Data

Victor Shih

Wei Shan

Mingxing Liu

AbstractCan one man dominate the Chinese Communist Party? This has been a much debated issue in the field of Chinese politics. Using a novel database that tracks the biographies of all Central Committee (CC) members from 1921 to 2007, we derive a measure of top CCP leaders' factional strength in the CC. We show that Mao could not maintain a commanding presence in the Party elite after the Eighth Party Congress in 1956, although the Party chairman enjoyed a prolonged period of consolidated support in the CC at a time when the CCP faced grave external threats. No Chinese leader, not even Mao himself, could regain the level of influence that he had enjoyed in the late 1940s. Our results, however, do not suggest that a “code of civility” has developed among Chinese leaders. The Cultural Revolution saw the destruction of Liu Shaoqi's faction. Although violent purges ended after the Cultural Revolution, Chinese leaders continued to promote followers into the CC and to remove rivals' followers.




pp 104 -124

Rade Unions and the Quadripartite Interactions in Strike Settlement in China

Feng Chen

AbstractAlthough the Chinese government has claimed to be pursuing tripartism for labour relations, the non-judicial resolution of interest conflict in enterprises is largely a process of quadripartite interaction. In addition to the government and employers, the trade unions and workers are separate players: labour strikes in China are always launched by unorganized workers rather than by trade unions, whose task is to defuse the situation. Such a quadripartite process is dominated by the government, with the trade union playing a mediating role, not only between workers and the government but also between workers and employers. The process involves certain explicit and implicit rules, as well as distinct dynamics. This research examines the institutional and social basis of quadripartite interaction and how it led to the settlement of strikes. It demonstrates that although it can effectively defuse workers' collective action, a quadripartite process of conflict resolution reflects a low degree of institutionalization of industrial relations in China.




pp 125 -155

The Listing of Chinese State-Owned Banks and their Path to Banking and Ownership Reform    

Paul B. McGuinness

Kevin Keasey

AbstractChina's leading state-owned banks have undergone radical transformation in recent years, with six of the country's top seven players listed in both Hong Kong and Shanghai. We first consider how the banks were reorganized for initial public offering, in terms of the removal of non-performing loans and the massive recapitalization of their balance sheets. Second, and more importantly, we consider whether they have been able to retain market share, further commercialize and enhance overall financial positions post-listing. Through in-depth case analysis of the six state-owned banks, we show that post-initial public offering they have significantly improved profitability, loan book size, loan book quality and capital reserve protection. However, we caution that the debilitating effects of the global credit crunch may slow or even arrest further progress across these dimensions in the near term. We conclude that China's leading banks have benefited materially from their transition, and have accordingly developed a range of competitive and co-operative strategies not only to sustain domestic market advantage but also to penetrate overseas markets.




pp 156 -175

Dynamic Statism and Memory Politics: A Case Analysis of the Chinese War Reparations Movement    

Bin Xu and Xiaoyu Pu

AbstractThis study addresses the Chinese Second World War victims' reparations movement (CWRM) against Japan as a case of contemporary Chinese memory politics. While many studies indicate the Chinese government's use of the war memories for political purposes, ours focuses on how official discourses are translated into citizens' political participation and how the state–society interactions lead to variation in the development of the movement sectors within the case of CWRM. Drawing on textual and ethnographic data and a theoretical “dynamic statism,” we argue that the central government's ambivalent attitude towards this ideologically useful yet institutionally troublesome movement created room for local governments and the movement to pursue their own causes. Yet the local and central governments' strong interventions, either facilitation or repression, discouraged civil society's participation and led to the underdevelopment of some movement sectors. In the sectors where the local governments held an attitude of absenteeism or co-operation, the movement was able to mobilize resources from civil society and state institutions and finally developed well.




pp 176 -194

Dealing with Responsibility for the Great Leap Famine in the People's Republic of China    

Felix Wemheuer

AbstractIn the aftermath of the famine in 1962, Mao Zedong took formal responsibility for the failure of the Great Leap Forward in the name of the central government. Thousands of local cadres were made scapegoats and were legally punished. This article focuses on the question of how the different levels of the Chinese state, such as the central government, the province and the county, have dealt with the question of responsibility for the famine. The official explanation for the failure of the Great Leap will be compared to unofficial memories of intellectuals, local cadres and villagers. The case study of Henan province shows that local cadres are highly dissatisfied with the official evaluation of responsibility. Villagers bring suffering, starvation and terror into the discourse, but these memories are constructed in a way to preserve village harmony. This article explains why these different discourses about responsibility of the famine are unlinked against the background of the “dual society”; the separation between urban and rural China. Finally, it will be shown that the Communist Party was unable to convince parts of society and the Party to accept the official interpretation.





Book Reviews  

pp 195 -198

Trial of Modernity: Judicial Reform in Early Twentieth-Century China, 1901–1937 Xiaoqun Xu Stanford University Press, 2008 xvi + 378 pp. $65.00 ISBN 978-0-8047-5586-3

Criminal Justice in China: A History Klaus Mühlhahn Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 2009 365 p. £22.95; €27.00; $29.95 ISBN 13:978-0-674-03323-8

Divine Justice: Religion and the Development of Chinese Legal Culture Paul R. Katz London and New York: Routledge, 2009 xiii + 224 pp. £70.00 ISBN 978-0-415-44345-6    

Jérôme Bourgon

pp 198 -202

China in Africa Chris Alden London: Zed Books, 2007 xii + 157 pp. £12.99; $19.95 ISBN 978-1-84277-864-7

China Returns to Africa: A Rising Power and a Continent Embrace Edited by Chris Alden, Daniel Large and Ricardo Soares de Oliveira London: Hurst, 2008 xx + 382 pp. £25.00 ISBN 978-1-85065-886-3

China's African Challenges Sarah Raine London and New York, 2009 x + 270 pp. £9.99 ISBN 978-0-415-55693-4

China's New Role in Africa Ian Taylor Boulder, CO.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2009 x + 227 pp. £48.50 ISBN 978-1-58826-636-1    

Lucy Corkin


pp 202 -203

China in Latin America: The Whats and Wherefores R. Evan Ellis Boulder, CO, and London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2009 xiii + 328 pp. $24.50 ISBN 978-1-58826-675-0     f

Cynthia J. Arnson


pp 203 -205

Globalization and Change in China's Governance Yu Keping Leiden: Brill Publishing, 2008 vi + 275 pp. €69.00; $103.00 ISBN: 978-90-04-15682-1   

Doug Guthrie


pp 205 -206

Greater China's Quest for Innovation Edited by Henry S. Rowen, Marguerite Gong Hancock and William F. Miller Stanford, CA: The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Centre, 2008 vii + 404 pp. $24.95 ISBN 978-1-931-368-12-4   

Tai Ming Cheung


pp 206 -207

Embattled Glory: Veterans, Military Families, and the Politics of Patriotism in China, 1949–2007 Neil J. Diamant Lanham, Boulder, New York and Toronto: Rowman and Littlefield, 2009 xiii + 463 pp. ISBN 97-0-7425-5766-6   

Thomas J. Bickford


pp 207 -208

The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online Guobin Yang New York: Columbia University Press, 2009 xv + 302 pp. $29.50; £20.50 ISBN 978-0-231-14420-9   

Jonathan Sullivan


pp 209 -210

Developing China: Land, Politics, and Social Conditions George C. S. Lin London and New York: Routledge, 2009 xxiii + 343 pp. £85.00 ISBN 978-0-415-41322-0 

You-Tien Hsing


pp 210 -211

The Pan Pearl River Delta: An Emerging Regional Economy in Globalizing China Edited by Y.M. Yeung and Shen Jianfa Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2008 xxi + 595 pp. $59.00 ISBN 978-962-996-376-7   

Reut Barak


pp 211 -213

Non-Governmental Organizations in China: The Rise of Dependent Autonomy Yiyi Lu London and New York: Routledge, 2009 xii + 170 pp. $150.00 ISBN 978-0-415-45858-0

Hee-Jin Han


pp 213 -214

The Politics of Cross-Border Crime in Greater China: Case Studies of Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao Sonny Shiu-Hing Lo Armonk, NY, and London: ME Sharpe, 2009 xvii + 245 pp. $76.95 ISBN 978-0-7656-1276-2   

Hualing Fu


pp 214 -216

Television in Post-Reform China: Serial Dramas, Confucian Leadership and the Global Television Market Ying Zhu London and New York: Routledge, 2008 xxii + 177 pp. £22.00; $41.95 ISBN: 978-0-415-49220-1  


pp 216 -217

Women Playing Men: Yue Opera and Social Change in Twentieth-Century Shanghai Jin Jiang Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2009 xix + 340 pp. £30.99 ISBN 978-0-295-98844-3  

Tiantian Zheng


pp 217 -219

Gay and Lesbian Subculture in Urban China Loretta Wing Wah Ho London and New York: Routledge, 2009 xiii + 180 pp. $130.00 ISBN: 978-0-415-55022-2

Tiantian Zheng



pp 219 -220

Was Mao Really a Monster? The Academic Response to Chang and Halliday's Mao: The Unknown Story Edited by Gregor Benton and Lin Chun London and New York: Routledge, 2009 viii + 199 pp. £22.99 ISBN 978-0-415-49330-7

Michael Schoenhals


pp 220 -221

Dilemmas of Victory: The Early Years of the People's Republic of China Jeremy Brown and Paul G. Pickowicz Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007 xii + 462 pp. $47.50; £35.95 ISBN 978-0-674-02616-2   

Julia C. Strauss


pp 221 -223

The Mirage of China: Anti-Humanism, Narcissism and Corporeality of the Contemporary World Xin Liu New York and Oxford: Bergham Books, 2009 xii + 209 pp. $80.00 ISBN 978-1-84545-545-3    

Rebecca E. Karl


pp 223 -225

China and Japan in the Late Meiji Period: China Policy and the Japanese Discourse on National Identity, 1895–1904 Urs Matthias Zachmann London and New York: Routledge, 2009 x + 238 pp. $150.00 ISBN 978-0-415-48191-5  

Douglas Reynolds



pp 225 -227

Chinese Shakespeares: Two Centuries of Cultural Exchange Alexander C. Y. Huang New York: Columbia University Press, 2009 xi + 350 pp. $26.50; £18.50 ISBN 978-0-231-14849-8  

Jon Eugene von Kowallis





Books Received    

pp 228 -229

Books Received



Quarterly Chronicle and Documentation  

pp 230 -264

Quarterly Chronicle and Documentation   




pp 265 -268




Front Cover (OFC, IFC) and matter 

pp f1 -f5

CQY volume 201 Cover and Front matter    



Back Cover (IBC, OBC) and matter

pp b1 -b10

CQY volume 201 Cover and Back matter