Understanding inequality in China

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Drawing on past research, including my own, I set forth the following propositions: (1) inequality in China has been generated and maintained by structural collective mechanisms, such as regions and work units; (2) traditional Chinese political ideology has promoted merit-based inequality, with merit being perceived as functional in improving the collective welfare for ordinary people; and (3) many Chinese people today regard inequality as an inevitable consequence of economic development. Thus, it seems unlikely that social inequality alone would lead to political and social unrest in today’s China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-347
Number of pages21
JournalChinese Journal of Sociology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


  • Attitude/ideology
  • China
  • economic development
  • inequality


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