Individualisation of social rights in China LIN DA WO N G
For several decades, the almost universal right to work and access public and collective goods buttressed claims about the superiority of Chinese socialism. Leninist theory legitimated the deduction of part of the common product for social benefits and services before primary distribution via wages and other public expenditures. The masses, though not holding the formal status of citizens, enjoyed extensive social and economic rights. Successive Chinese constitutions guaranteed the right to work, assurance of physical survival, and assistance in old age, sickness, disability and times of adversity. Access to primary education became free and near-universal in cities and towns, although compulsory education did not become law until 1995.