Better to Rely on Ourselves

Changing Social Rights in Urban China since 1979

by Hatla Thelle

367 pp.,
NIAS Monographs # 97
Available from NIAS Press worldwide

Hardback - 2004, Available
ISBN 978 87 91114 26 7, £45.00

This study analyses changes in the protection of social rights in China since 1979 for the middle-income level of the urban population, based on family interviews and documentary studies. It tells how conditions for employment, housing, social security and education have undergone a complete transformation as a consequence of the transition to a market economy.

While the individual citizen has benefited from more freedom of choice and movement, there is less stable protection of the right to work, health care, housing and education. Moreover, channels of popular participation in the decision-making process remain fragile and knowledge of complaints mechanisms and legal remedies is poor.

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