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Welfare for Autocrats – How Social Assistance in China Cares for its Rulers - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Welfare for Autocrats: How Social Assistance in China Cares for its Rulers

Jennifer Pan


What are the costs of the Chinese regime’s fixation on quelling dissent in the name of political order, or “stability”? In Welfare for Autocrats, Jennifer Pan shows that China has reshaped its major social assistance program, Dibao, around this preoccupation, turning an effort to alleviate poverty into a tool of surveillance and repression. This distortion of Dibao damages perceptions of government competence and legitimacy and can trigger unrest among those denied benefits. Pan traces how China’s approach to enforcing order transformed at the turn of the 21st century and identifies a phenomen ... More

Keywords: China, social assistance, Dibao, repression, surveillance, political order, stability, protest, urban politics, institutional change, legitimacy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780190087425
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190087425.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jennifer Pan, author
Assistant Professor of Communication, Stanford University