Social Assistance As a Counter-Insurgency Strategy in Contemporary China

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Yao LI, Ash Center, Harvard Kennedy School, USA
Burak GUREL, Koc University, Turkey
By providing social assistance to about 60 million poor people, the Urban and Rural Minimum Livelihood Guarantee Scheme (Dibao) of the People’s Republic of China is one of the largest social assistance programs in modern history. This article provides substantive support for our argument that Chinese government uses Dibao program as a containment strategy against protest movements. The argument is based on a quantitative analysis of two large datasets: a protest events dataset that we have created based on the news reports of the Boxun website (boxun.com) and a social assistance dataset based on the figures of the Dibao provision reported by the PRC Ministry of Civil Affairs. Using these datasets and various control variables in multivariate regression, we identify a statistically significant spatial relationship between protests and the Dibao provision. The paper then examines why and how the Chinese government has devised and implemented the Dibao as a way of containment of social unrest. The article concludes with a discussion of the use and limitations of social assistance in Chinese government’s effort to maintain social and political stability.