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‘The common aim of the Allied Powers’: social policy and international legitimacy in wartime China, 1940–47

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 May 2014

Tehyun Ma*
Affiliation:
Department of History, University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter EX4 4RJ, UK E-mail: t.ma@exeter.ac.uk

Abstract

This article examines why Western programmes of social security became a topic of interest for Chinese Nationalist (Guomindang) policy-makers during the early 1940s. It traces a generation of sociologists and civil servants, often trained abroad, who used wartime exigencies to make the case for New Deal-style reforms. While offering a route to professional advancement, social insurance was primarily intended to serve the needs of the government. Embedded in, and dependent on, the Anglo-American alliance, Nationalist party planners embraced the internationalist social agenda of the Atlantic Charter – advanced by institutions such as the International Labour Organization and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration – to solidify their nation's status as an aspiring great power, and to legitimize to foreign sponsors their hold on the state. In this regard, fascination with the likes of the Beveridge Report and the Social Security Act was a performance, intended to show how China was in keeping with the spirit of the age.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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88 Ibid.

89 Cited in ibid., p. 287.

90 Cited in ibid.

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99 Ibid., p. 127.

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101 China had been trying to secure a permanent seat on the ILO since 1935. When the opening came up in 1940, Chinese diplomats scurried to put a plan together with the Ministries of Social Affairs and Economic Affairs. The importance that they invested in the seat owed much to their sense that the ILO enjoyed US support in a way that the League did not. Their plan involved lobbying members, providing the ILO with missing statistics, and, if required, threatening to resign from the ILO. The plan was approved by Chiang. Chang, Guoji hezuo zai Zhongguo, pp. 280–282Google Scholar.

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103 Ibid., p. 537.

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105 See for example ‘The new China’, New York Times, 14 September, 1945; ‘Social security plan is drafted for China’, New York Times, 17 July 1946; ‘China's plans for social security’, Straits Times, 16 August 1946.

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108 Ibid., p. 54.

109 Ibid.

110 Ibid., p. xiii.

111 Ibid.

112 Ibid., p. xv.

113 ‘Longines chronoscope with Tingfu F. Tsiang’, US National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC, ARC 96033, LI LW-LW-486.

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‘The common aim of the Allied Powers’: social policy and international legitimacy in wartime China, 1940–47
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‘The common aim of the Allied Powers’: social policy and international legitimacy in wartime China, 1940–47
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‘The common aim of the Allied Powers’: social policy and international legitimacy in wartime China, 1940–47
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