Chapter 3 discusses the social policies in China. The chapter touches upon the Confucian values and practices of the traditional imperial state relating to care for the most unfortunate members of society and then investigates developments in the Republican period (1911–1949), the Maoist era (1949–1977), and the reform era (1978–) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The chapter highlights the changing thinking and institutions relating to social policy, from the enactment shortly after the PRC’s establishment of the Labour Insurance Regulations (1951) (the key legal instrument in this domain in the Maoist era), to the constitutional amendment of 2004 (which expressly provides for the state’s responsibility for ‘social security’) and the making of the Social Insurance Law 2010 (which establishes the legal framework for a comprehensive and universally applicable system of social insurance). The opening and reform period, so it seems, triggered an unprecedented expansion in both the field of social insurance and the field of tax-financed means-tested benefits covering basic needs.