Balancing Collectivization and Individual Responsibility: Hong Kong Social Policy Under the Chinese Regime

  • James K. C. Lee
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 5)


The social welfare system in Hong Kong is widely acknowledged as rather residual in nature, where social policies are meant for the unfortunate few who happen to be least able to help themselves during a certain vulnerable point in life (McLaughlin, 1993; Chow 1995). The social assistance system (the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance scheme) merely serves to provide a basic level of financial and material help to ailing families on a temporary basis. The government has always stressed that the welfare system should not create dependence and work disincentives. It is there to help unfortunate individuals, but not to be relied upon as a means of livelihood. A wage-earning job and a full employment policy are still widely regarded as the most important welfare guarantee for individuals and families. Sustainable economic growth and a highly productive labor force are still considered the keys to welfare and quality of life. ‘Hong Kong is not and would not want to claim that it is a welfare state, since the very term is regarded as distasteful and dangerous’ (Wilding, 1997).


Public Housing Housing Authority Hospital Authority Mass Education Education Expansion 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

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  • James K. C. Lee

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