A Chinese Beveridge Plan: The Discourse of Social Security and the Post-War Reconstruction of China

In: European Journal of East Asian Studies
Author: Tehyun Ma 1
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  • 1 University of Bristol

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This article explores planning for reconstruction in the Republic of China by focusing especially on the response to the British government-commissioned 1942 Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services, better known as the Beveridge Plan, a blueprint for the post-war welfare state. The Beveridge Report was translated into Chinese in 1943, and its ideas were widely discussed among cosmopolitan social policy experts in the Republic of China’s Ministry of Social Affairs. Chinese delegates returned from the International Labour Organisation conference in Philadelphia in 1944 persuaded that social security was the spirit of the age, and began to draw up plans for what one policymaker called China’s own Beveridge Plan. After 1945 some of these ideas were incorporated into policy. I argue that while the debate over social welfare in the Republic of China (ROC) hinged on indigenous traditions of benevolence, labour unrest and the relative weakness of the ROC state, it was also shaped by the nation’s alliance with Britain and the US in particular, and the role of social policy experts in multinational organisations and networks.

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