The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has catapulted China into a serious social and political crisis. This article focuses upon how Chinese social policy has responded to the Covid-19 crisis. It reveals that the Chinese welfare state has woven a comprehensive social safety net to mitigate the social suffering of Chinese society in the mid- and post-crisis periods. Different types of social policy programs have been combined and synthesized, including social insurance, social assistance, and social welfare arrangements. Facing the challenges of the new risks caused by the pandemic, the collaboration of the Chinese state and intermediary social welfare organizations has played a crucial role in providing both cash benefits and social services (benefits in kind). For the first time, social policy in China has acted as a major player for coping with the negative outcomes of a pandemic. This article concludes that the pandemic-related crisis has justified an interventionist approach and logic, driven by the state’s welfare system, which favors a model of “big government”. However, this model also requires justification and legitimation.
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