New rule cre­ates so­cial safety net

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By HE DAN and FAN FEIFEI

The State Coun­cil, or China’s Cab­i­net, is­sued a rule on Thurs­day ded­i­cated to im­prov­ing the so­cial aid net­work for the un­der­priv­i­leged.

There are 13 chap­ters and 70 ar­ti­cles in the In­terim Reg­u­la­tions on So­cial As­sis­tance is­sued by the State Coun­cil. The reg­u­la­tions set de­tails about the min­i­mum stan­dard of liv­ing for low-in­come people; res­cue and re­lief for people af­fected by dis­as­ters; and med­i­cal, ed­u­ca­tion, hous­ing and em­ploy­ment as­sis­tance. The new rule will take ef­fect in May.

The rule says el­derly people with­out in­come, dis­abled people who are un­able to work and mi­nors un­der age 16 will be un­der the State’s care.

The na­tion will es­tab­lish an emer­gency med­i­cal as­sis­tance sys­tem, of­fer­ing help to people who need im­me­di­ate treat­ment. A med­i­cal fund will be es­tab­lished to pay the med­i­cal bills for pa­tients in crit­i­cal sit­u­a­tions who can­not be iden­ti­fied.

The reg­u­la­tions, passed by the State Coun­cil, pro­vide a com­pre­hen­sive so­cial safety net for vul­ner­a­ble so­cial groups who fall into var­i­ous dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions, said Tang Jun, deputy di­rec­tor of the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences’ Re­search Cen­ter for So­cial Pol­icy, ac­cord­ing to China Times, a Bei­jing-based news­pa­per.

En­force­ment of the stop­gap rule can help to draw lessons and ex­pe­ri­ence for a higher level of leg­is­la­tion, he said.

The pro­posal for the Na­tional People’s Congress, or China’s top leg­is­la­ture, to stip­u­late a sound law on so­cial as­sis­tance was ini­ti­ated in the early 1990s. How­ever, be­cause of com­pli­ca­tions, the long-awaited law has yet to be drafted. The State Coun­cil de­cided to make a stop­gap rule in De­cem­ber and be­gan to so­licit on­line pub­lic opin­ion about the draft in Jan­uary.

Lyu Xuejing, a so­cial se­cu­rity ex­pert at Cap­i­tal Univer­sity of Eco­nom­ics and Busi­ness, said ef­fec­tive en­force­ment of the new reg­u­la­tions will re­quire fur­ther in­ter­pre­ta­tion about how gov­ern­men­tal de­part­ments should di­vide tasks and co­op­er­ate.

Where the money for the so­cial safety net will come from, how to dis­trib­ute the funds and how to pun­ish any abuses should be clar­i­fied, she em­pha­sized.

Strict su­per­vi­sion of the mas­sive amount of money spent on so­cial aid work is also vi­tal, she added. Con­tact the writ­ers at hedan@ chi­ and fan­feifei@chi­

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