Welfare for autocrats: how social assistance in China cares for its rulers (2020)
in: Oxford scholarship online
Over the past two decades, maintaining political order has been the Chinese regime's primary goal. This text shows how China's preoccupation with 'stability' (political order) seeps into unrelated policies in previously unexplained ways. This 'seepage' has affected China's Dibao program, the world's largest welfare program of its kind. For the first time ever, this work shows how seepage works, what motivates it, what its effects are, and how seepage can backfire, ironically leading to protests and discontent. Jennifer Pan explores the primacy of political order and challenges how we think about welfare, institutional change, repression, surveillance, and collective action.