Social issues in the People's Republic of China

Social issues in the People's Republic of China

Social issues in the People's Republic of China in the 21st century are varied and wide-ranging, and are a combined result of the Chinese economic reforms set in place in the late 1970s, China's political and cultural history, and an immense population. Because of the vast number of social problems that exist in China today (not at all exclusive to the following list), China's government has faced considerable difficulty in trying to remedy the issues. Many of these issues are exposed by the Chinese media, while subjects that may contain politically sensitive issues may be censored. Some academics hold that China's fragile social balance, combined with a bubble economy makes China an extremely unstable country, while others argue China's societal trends have created a balance to sustain itself.

ocio-economic imbalances

*Rural-urban disparity and the wealth gap
*Coastal-hinterland imbalance
*Digital divide


*Male-female ratio disparity from sex-selective abortion and other problems associated from the One-child policy
*Uncontrollable flow of mass migration

ocial safety net

*Lack of pension system; Social insurance virtually non-existent
*Lack of benefits for the retired

Government and law

*Lack of democratic practice and power invested in citizenry
*Government's abuse of power (滥用职权)
*Useless positions in civil service and redundant government agencies
*Corruption (nepotism, cronyism, wasting public funds, bribery etc.)
*"Face" projects (面子工程), including building useless roads, buildings, and huge government squares
*government-commerce relationships (官商勾结)
*Lack of the rule of law
*Corruption of the legal system (司法制度腐败)
*Fusion and unclear definition on the powers of the government and judiciary


*Corporate irregularity
*Re-emergence of organized crime
*Gambling and prostitution
*Growth of pornographic industry
*Personal safety risks (especially in public places such as train stations)
*Massive counterfeiting
*Corporate scandals (includes corruption in professional sports)
*Increased instances of fraud and scams (including people claiming supernatural powers, cure illnesses, change names for better luck, etc.)

ocial unrest

*Media censorship
*Challenges to authority
*Protests against local government/businesses and ensuing persecution

Health care

*Corruption (lack of healthcare cover, hospital overcrowding and low wages prompt doctors to seek additional monetary incentive from patients)
*Lack of modern equipment in majority of rural areas
*Privatization and double standards
*Uncontrolled spread of AIDS and STDs

Elitism and discrimination

*Regional elitism (particularly in Beijing and Shanghai)
*Discrimination against women (although since the Mao-era the status of women gained significant ground)
*Emergence of new class system


*Sacrificing environmental needs for economic gain (includes Three Gorges Dam project)
*Urban industrial pollution
*Uncontrolled and unsustainable rise in urban vehicle use


*Competitiveness in schools (includes bribery to get into best schools)
*Overt emphasis on exams (especially "Gaokao", the university entrance exams)
*Parental and peer pressure on youth
*Lack of creativity and self-critical thinking
*Lack of physical education
*Rural-urban inequality
*Lack of job opportunities after graduation
*Lack of strong relationship between state-funded research and the private sector, e.g. poor commercialization and technology transfer of university research
*Lack of critical scholarship and monitoring of research quality
*Lack of multi-lingual abilities to compete in the globalized economy


*Norm that social competitiveness should be considered above all else
*Loss of traditional Confucianism morals and beliefs
*Inflexible ideologies taught in public
*Money worship

Loss of culture

*New generation of Chinese embracing anything Western (pop music, western clothing, going to Starbucks, etc.), thus losing Chinese culture
*Buddhism becoming commercialized
*Suppression of religion

ee also

*Social issues in Germany
*Social issues in the United States
*Social issues in Brazil


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