China’s New 21st-Century Realities

Social Equity in a Time of Change

by Richard Greggory Johnson III (Volume editor)
©2015 Textbook VI, 158 Pages
Series: Global Studies in Education, Volume 15


China’s New 21st-Century Realities: Social Equity in a Time of Change examines the new social justice realities in China. Often when people think of China they think of a very rigid, patriarchal society where oppression is the order of the day. However, this book aims to debunk some of those preconceived notions by addressing issues such as single men living in rural China, professional women in politics, and the baggage that comes with being considered an outsider. The book looks at China through a critical social justice prism that has seldom been used before. Contributors also take on race and ethnicity as a means to understanding that China, like many nations in the world, is becoming increasingly diverse in many areas including religion and gender roles. This book is a must read for anyone that is truly interested in unlearning what they believe they know about human rights in China.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: China’s Glass Ceiling: The Exclusion of Women From High-Level Politics
  • Chapter Two: Discrimination Against the Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong’s Defense of Local Identity
  • Chapter Three: Narrowing the Gap: Urban-Rural Inequalities in Healthcare Utilization in China
  • Chapter Four: Rise of Uyghur Ethnic Tensions in China
  • Chapter Five: Missing Women of China: The Persistence of Gender Inequity in China
  • Chapter Six: China’s History of Brutal Response to Drug Addiction and Trafficking
  • Chapter Seven: Finding a Place to Belong: China’s Rural Bachelors
  • Chapter Eight: The China Dream Versus the American Dream: How Cultural Difference Shapes the Public Agenda
  • Chapter Nine: Climbing a Slippery Social Ladder: Prevailing Perspectives of Chinese Students About Gaokao
  • Contributors
  • Series index



China is perhaps one of the greatest economies of the world. Not long ago China was considered a developing economy, and in some respects, many Westerners continue to view China through this lens. This belief is even more cemented by the large numbers of human-rights violations that continue to exist in China.

China’s growth in global and economic status has been assisted by Hong Kong’s reunification with mainland China on July 1, 1997, after more than 150 years of British rule. The hand-off to China has increased Hong Kong’s economic power, to be sure. The reunification has not come easily between the two nations, however, and continues to hinder China’s success in achieving status as a powerful nation. The divide between mainland China and Hong Kong is highly visible to Western companies that might want to do business with China but opt not to due to the tensions within the country’s own borders. Vanessa Ko (2012) argued that tensions between Hong Kong and China have been mounting since the hand-off in 1997, though this is not surprising, as it was predicted that such a situation would occur well before the hand-off.

This is evinced, in particular, by the political systems within Hong Kong and China, which are often referred to as “one country two systems,” with China remaining under Communist rule and Hong Kong remaining, for the most part, under democratic rule.

With the Communist rule of China come heavy censorship laws and practices. Mainland China remains one of the most censored nations in the world, while Hong Kong continues to enjoy many freedoms of which China remains devoid. ← 1 | 2 → For example, China’s citizens are banned from using Facebook and Flickr. Andrew Jacobs (2015) reported that these stringent Internet restrictions are frustrating to most people living in mainland China, especially business owners, noting:

Jing Yuechen, the founder of an Internet start-up here in the Chinese capital, has no interest in overthrowing the Communist Party. But these days she finds herself cursing the nation’s smothering cyber police as she tries—and fails—to browse photo-sharing websites like Flickr and struggles to stay in touch with the Facebook friends she has made during trips to France, India and Singapore.

Gmail has become almost impossible to use here, and in recent weeks the authorities have gummed up Astrill, the software Ms. Jing and countless others depended on to circumvent the Internet restrictions that Western security analysts refer to as the Great Firewall.

But all of these issues and concerns within mainland China remain very real. The purpose of this book is to discuss the growing attention to human rights and social equity in the country as a whole. It would be unfair to cast a wide net over China’s human-rights violations and paint Hong Kong as a land where all of its citizens are treated justly and with a great sense of humanity. Therefore, each of the chapters in this book will focus on social equity issues within the country as a whole, though the chapter by Wong (Chapter 2) does address the continued reunification challenges between Hong Kong and China.

Unfortunately I could not fit all of the worthy topics into one short volume. For example, the book does not have an LGBT chapter, despite the fact that China has a growing and out LGBT population. This important subject, especially transgender issues, will need to be addressed in another volume. I hope this book represents a broad range of topics with its various authors that will provide each reader with insights into the changing social equity landscape in China around the topics of social justice and human rights. For, indeed, even greater attention will need to be paid by Chinese government officials should they ever want to achieve parity among all China’s citizens and achieve world-class status.


Jacobs, A. (2015, January 29). China further tightens grip on the Internet. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/30/world/asia/china-clamps-down-still-harder-on-int ernet-access.html?_r=0

Ko, V. (2012, January 24). Trouble down south: Why Hong Kong and mainland Chinese aren’t getting along. Time. Retrieved from http://world.time.com/2012/01/24/trouble-down-south-why-hong-kong-and-mainland-chinese-arent-getting-along/ ← 2 | 3 →


China’s Glass Ceiling: The Exclusion of Women From High-Level Politics



Women constitute slightly less than half (48.5% in 2014) of China’s total population (“China—The World Factbook”, 2014). However, their contribution to the social and economic development of Chinese society is more than half of that of men by virtue of their dual roles in the productive and reproductive spheres. Despite this, their participation in formal political structures and processes remains insignificant.

It cannot be denied that women’s political participation has made some progress since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. For example, Article 91 of the 1954 Constitution specifically gave women “equal rights with men in all areas of political, economical, cultural, social, and domestic life” (Burnett, 2010). During the 1950s, Chairman Mao Zedong’s famous quote, “Women hold up half the sky” (Yuen, 2013), further promoted women’s social status. In 1995 China hosted the Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace in Beijing. This event served as a catalyst in boosting women’s political involvement, resulting in various gender-oriented regulations. In the closing address of the 1995 World Women’s Conference, then-President Jiang Zemin once again emphasized that “the equality between men and women is the fundamental policy of China” (Guo & Zheng, 2008). Following the 1995 conference, the Chinese government has been systematically supporting women’s political rights. ← 3 | 4 →

Despite the pronounced commitment of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to gender equality during the 1950s and to bridging the gender gap in the formal political arena, reinforced by the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, until 2013 the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) had only 699 female representatives, accounting for 23.4% of the total. In addition, due to the subordination of the NPC in Chinese politics, even the numerically high proportion of female representation does not translate into real political power for women. Therefore, focusing on the percentage of female representatives in the NPC exaggerates the degree of gender equality in Chinese politics. Following is a brief introduction to the subordination of the NPC in Chinese politics.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the sole governing party, dominating the Chinese political system. The NPC is structured as a unicameral legislature. Under China’s current constitution, the NPC has the following powers: amend the constitution; supervise its enforcement; enact and amend laws; ratify and abrogate treaties; approve the state budget and plans for national economic and social development; elect and impeach top officials of the state and judiciary; and supervise the work of the State Council, the State Central Military Commission, the Supreme People’s Court, and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (Lawrence & Martin, 2013; see also “How China Is Ruled,” 2012).


VI, 158
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2016 (February)
Women Right, two system policy public agenda social ladder Urbanity
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2015. VI, 158 pp.

Biographical notes

Richard Greggory Johnson III (Volume editor)

Richard Greggory Johnson III is a tenured professor in the Department of Economics, Law, and International Business, School of Management, University of San Francisco. His research centers on social equity within the fields of public policy, management, higher education, and human resources management. He has been teaching in higher education for almost fifteen years and is widely published with several peer-reviewed books and over a dozen peer-reviewed journal articles. He holds graduate degrees from Georgetown University, Golden Gate University, and DePaul University. Dr. Johnson is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.


Title: China’s New 21st-Century Realities
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165 pages