China’s Social Insurance in the Twentieth Century

A Global Historical Perspective


In China’s Social Insurance in the Twentieth Century, Aiqun Hu develops a framework of “interactive diffusion of global models” in examining the history of China’s social insurance since the 1910s. The book covers both Nationalist- and Communist-controlled areas (1927-1949) and Taiwan (1949-present), surpassing the party divide. It argues that China’s progression in social insurance resulted from diffusion of two global models (German capitalist and Soviet socialist social insurance) until the early 1990s. Thereafter, China’s social insurance reforms were increasingly directed by the World Bank’s neoliberal models, which also influenced Taiwan’s pension reforms. During the entire process, however, global forces provided the basic intellectual framework, while national forces determined the timing and specifics of adopting the models.

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Biographical Note
Aiqun Hu, Ph.D. (2008), is Associate Professor of Asian and Global History at Arkansas State University. She has published her work in Journal of Global History, Journal of World History, World History Connected, and Chinese Public Policy Review.
Review Quotes
"Aiqun Hu’s innovative and important study traces China’s first century of social insurance. German origins and ILO propagation underlay the Chinese plans to insure the injured, old, sick, and unemployed—but competing Chinese interests encountered the challenges of war, revolution, fiscal solvency, and the alternatives of the Soviet welfare state followed by neoliberal privatization. Dr. Hu’s path-breaking study of socio-economic change is analytically comprehensive and technically superb. It sets a high standard for comparative analysis of large-scale social institutions in world-historical context."

Patrick Manning, University of Pittsburgh
President, American Historical Association

Table of contents
Acknowledgements ... vii

1 China, Social Insurance and the Welfare State: Towards a Global Historical Perspective ... 1

2 Rise of Global Models: German Capitalist vs. Russian Socialist Social Insurance ... 21

3 China’s Early Labor (Social Insurance) Legislation: The Role of the International Labor Organization, 1910s–1928 ... 51

4 China’s Social Insurance in Formation: Nationalist vs. Communist-controlled Areas, 1928–1953 ... 76

5 From Labor Insurance to Work-unit Welfare: The Soviet Model in China, 1953–1978 ... 102

6 From Social Insurance towards a Welfare State: The German Model in Taiwan, 1950–1995 ... 121

7 Neoliberalism and Pension Privatization in China and Taiwan since the 1980s ... 147

8 China’s Social Insurance in the Twenty-first Century: Towards a Universal Social Security System ... 175

Bibliography ... 195
Index ... 218
All interested in the history of China’s social welfare, China’s social security reforms, the welfare state, and global history.
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