Social security is one of the most important socio-economic systems for a country in modern times. To establish and improve a social security system corresponding to the level of economic development is a logical requirement for coordinated economic and social development. It is also an important guarantee for the social stability and the long-term political stability of a country.

China is the biggest developing country with a large population in the world, and its economic base is weak and the development between regions and between town and country is unbalanced. Establishing a sound social security system in China is an extremely arduous task.

In light of China’s actual situation and adhering to the principle of “putting people first,” the Chinese government attaches great importance and devotes every effort to establishing and improving its social security system. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China stipulates that the state shall establish and improve a social security system corresponding to the level of economic development. The Chinese government regards economic development as the basic prerequisite for improving people’s livelihood and effecting social security.

For a long time before 1978, when China adopted the reform and opening-up policies, China had practiced a social security policy corresponding to its planned economic system, providing social security services to its people as best it could. Since China established and improved its socialist market economy system in the mid-1980s, a series of reforms have been introduced to change the old social security system practiced under the planned economy, and a basic framework of a social security system has been set up in China corresponding to the market economy system, with the central and local governments sharing specific responsibilities.

China’s social security system includes social insurance, social welfare, the special care and placement system, social relief and housing services. As the core of the social security system, social insurance includes old-age insurance, unemployment insurance, medical insurance, work-related injury insurance and maternity insurance.