ABSTRACT

This chapter explores relevant social practices and problems featured in a culturally and politically diversified society like China. It highlights that the issue of vulnerability amongst the population is understood differently in a modern Chinese context, compared to Western understandings. The chapter examines a culturally embedded practice of ‘relational pressure’, which is a psychological engineering approach adopted by Chinese frontline officials for policing vulnerable populations. This capability approach will broaden the policy delivery to promoting one’s personal agency for the vulnerable population, rather than restricting exclusively to responding to the vulnerable situations. The cultural proclivity for relationship networking and social ties thus makes impersonal procedures, as often associated with the concept of bureaucrats at either central or street levels in the West, unworkable in specific problem situations in China.