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Karen R. Fisher, Xiaoyuan Shang and Megan Blaxland

This chapter examines people’s experiences of welfare policy intended to address the rights of people with disabilities as citizens of China. It applies a conceptual framework of disability and welfare from human rights. In a rights framework, meeting people’s support needs is required to fulfil their rights as citizens. Nationally, China adopts a rights framework in disability law. It is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2008. Yet, like other countries, research on disability in China indicates gaps between government commitment, experience of policies and consequent support required to fulfil their rights. In light of increased international and Chinese concerns about disability policy, it is timely to investigate experiences of support to inform welfare reform. Seeking socially inclusive policy for people with disabilities is directly related to rights, an issue high on the international political agenda. The chapter draws on fieldwork and secondary data analysis about the experience of people with disabilities within the family context (children, young people and older people) or in State care if family members are unknown. The policy implications of the findings focus on the ways State policy can strengthen family networks rather than exclude families from the disability policy process. In this, it takes a broad approach to policy implementation by acknowledging the role of the State, non-government agencies, communities and citizens.

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Megan Blaxland, Xiaoyuan Shang and Karen R. Fisher

The chapter addresses the gendered impact of Chinese social policies on the well-being of disadvantaged groups by examining empirical data in key policy areas of income support, disability services and aged care. The three case study social groups examined in the analysis are widowed mothers in rural areas, young women with disabilities in state care transitioning to adulthood and aged care for older women in rural China. Applying an ethic of care framework, we find that there are many women who do not have the supports they need to give and receive care. Instead, they find themselves in a space between customary supports and new forms of social assistance for care. Addressing this gender inequality would require policy change to support the redistribution of care to these disadvantaged girls and women in ways that would recognize their dignity and human rights.