Handbook of Welfare in China
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Handbook of Welfare in China

Edited by Beatriz Carrillo, Johanna Hood and Paul Kadetz

The Handbook is a timely compilation dedicated to exploring a rare diversity of perspectives and content on the development, successes, reforms and challenges within China’s contemporary welfare system. It showcases an extensive introduction and 20 original chapters by leading and emerging area specialists who explore a century of welfare provision from the Nationalist era, up to and concentrating on economic reform and marketisation (1978 to the present). Organised around five key concerns (social security and welfare; emerging issues and actors; gaps; future challenges) chapters draw on original case-based research from diverse disciplines and perspectives, engage existing literature and further key debates.
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Chapter 14: Ageing in rural China: State, family and gendered care responsibilities

Jieyu Liu


Drawing upon qualitative data from a project on ageing in rural China, this chapter examines the experiences of older people and their families in responding to geographical separation resulting from the migration of the younger generation to the cities. It aims to contribute to our understanding of rural ageing in the following two aspects. First, it incorporates the recent move in Chinese social policies for rural villages (including pilot pension and medical care schemes), and explores the interaction between the State and the existing familial support systems. It reveals that the current welfare regime in rural China is deeply embedded in a familial ideology, with the State (directly or indirectly) relying upon individual households to fulfil many of the care and financial responsibilities associated with government welfare provision. Second, this chapter draws attention to more nuanced dynamics within the family. Contrary to the image of a ‘burden’ to their families, older people are active support providers to their children. Yet the role of gender in intra-household power relations has meant that older rural women carry a disproportionate part of the responsibility for grandchild care and family farming as a result of their adult children’s migration to the cities.

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