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Open AccessArticle

Social Policy Responses to the Covid-19 Crisis in China in 2020

by Quan Lu 1, Zehao Cai 2,*, Bin Chen 3 and Tao Liu 4,5,6,*
China Social Security Research Center, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
School of Public Administration, China University of Labor Relations, Beijing 100045, China
School of Sociology, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China
School of Public Affairs, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
Center of Social Welfare and Governance, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
Institute of East Asian Studies, University Duisburg-Essen, 47057 Duisburg, Germany
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5896;
Received: 30 June 2020 / Revised: 7 August 2020 / Accepted: 10 August 2020 / Published: 14 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: Covid-19; social policy; responses; intervention; state Covid-19; social policy; responses; intervention; state
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Lu, Q.; Cai, Z.; Chen, B.; Liu, T. Social Policy Responses to the Covid-19 Crisis in China in 2020. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 5896.

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