Readjusting Labour: Enterprise Restructuring, Social Consequences and Policy Responses in Urban China

  • Sarah Cook
Part of the Studies on the Chinese Economy book series (STCE)


China is in the midst of a major social transformation. In recent months, the attention of the media, researchers and policy makers has focused on what could be the greatest threat to social – and therefore political – stability since the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989. A principal cause of this social transformation is the changing place of labour in the ‘workers’ state’. Since 1949, state sector industrial workers have held a privileged position in China’s spatial and employment hierarchies. Protected by city residents’ registration (hukou), with access to urban amenities and social services provided by government or the work unit (danwei), they have been cocooned within an ‘iron rice-bowl’ system aptly described as a ‘mini-welfare state’.


Unemployment Insurance Work Unit Urban Poverty Social Insurance System Enterprise Restructuring 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Chen, Q. (1998) ‘The Number of Laid-off Workers in Urban Enterprises Increase Substantially’ (in Chinese), China Labor, 1, p.44. Chinabrief (1998) ‘Labour comes unstuck’, Chinabrief, 1, 1 (May), pp. 9–11.Google Scholar
  2. Cook, S. and Maurer-Fazio, M. (1999) ‘Introduction’, in The Worker’s State Meets the Market: Labour in China’s Transition, Special Issue of Journal of Development Studies, 35, 3, pp. 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cook, S. and White, G. (1998) ‘The Changing Pattern of Poverty in China: Issues for Research and Policy’, IDS Working Paper, 67, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies.Google Scholar
  4. Leung, J. (1998) ‘Social Security Reforms: A Long and Winding Road’, China Review, pp. 479–99.Google Scholar
  5. Li, J. (1998) ‘How to View Employment Situation in our Country?’, China Labor, 4, p.4.Google Scholar
  6. Liu, G. (1998) ‘The policy of re-employment centre must be adhered to’ (in Chinese), China Social Insurance, MoLSS, Issue no. 12, pp. 22–3.Google Scholar
  7. MCA (1998) China Civil Affairs Yearbook, 1998, Beijing: MCA.Google Scholar
  8. MoLSS (1998) ‘Statistical Surveys of Migrant and Laid-off SOE Workers’ (in Chinese), China Labor, 6, p.45.Google Scholar
  9. Muo, R. (1998) ‘Analysis of Employment Situation in 1998’ (in Chinese), China Labor, 6, p.41.Google Scholar
  10. O’Leary, G. (1998) ‘Labour in Transition’, China Review, pp. 456–78.Google Scholar
  11. SSB (1998) China Statistical Yearbook, China Statistical Publishing House.Google Scholar
  12. SSB and MoLSS (1998) China Labour Statistical Yearbook, China Statistical Publishing House.Google Scholar
  13. State Council (1997) ‘Announcement of the establishment of a national minimum livelihood System for urban residents’, State Circular No. 29.Google Scholar
  14. SWB (1998) ‘FE/3402 G/7’, 5 December.Google Scholar
  15. UNDP (1996) ‘Urban Employment Promotion’, Project Document, October.Google Scholar
  16. Urban Survey Team, SSB (1997, 1998) China Price and Urban Household Survey Statistical Yearbook, China Statistical Publishing House.Google Scholar
  17. Wang, Y. (1995) ‘Implementing Re-employment Projects, in MOL and Central TV Station’, 15 lectures on social insurance system, China Labor, pp. 103–6.Google Scholar
  18. Wilhelm, K. (1999) ‘Cover Story: China’, Far Eastern Economic Review, 18 February, pp. 10–16.Google Scholar
  19. Wong, L. (1998) Marginalization and Social Welfare in China, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Xinhua News Agency (1998) ‘Reemployment Project’, Internet.Google Scholar
  21. Zhu, L. (1999) ‘Safety net and poverty alleviation programmes in the economic transition of China’ Paper presented at the International Conference on Economies in Transition at the Turn of the Century, Macau Institute of European Studies.Google Scholar
  22. Zhu, L. (1997) ‘Poverty alleviation during the transition in China’ (mimeo), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited  2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Cook

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations