Family Changes in China and Comparative Research of Family Policies

Jin Yihong, Catrina Schläger (eds.); Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Shanghai, June 2014

Family structures are undergoing constant change, influenced by a host of factors, such as cultural traditions, religious, education, economic and technological progress, as well as (socio-) political values. Great changes have taken place in China since the start of the reform process and opening-up over 30 years ago. Political and social reforms have separated the family from class struggle and proletarian dictatorship and families are now part of the private domain. The dual urban-rural structure, layoffs and unemployment, uneven distribution of wealth and employment-linked social security have made the family the last resort with regard to individual subsistence. More economic provision and care-giving duties have been assigned to families. Familial relations are more complex and fragile. In addition, family planning policy and demographic changes are leading to changes in families, too. However, China’s family policy is still in its infancy. This book reflects profound family changes in China from different perspectives during the last 30 years on one side, and delivers international experiences and comparison from Europe, the USA and the East Asian region on the other. Moreover, some political proposals have been made towards family planning policy, elderly care, paternity leave and work-family balance in China.

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