What is the Role of Social Work in China? A Multi-Dimensional Analysis

  • Jieru Bai University of Nebraska at Omaha
Keywords: China, pluralistic, social development, policy


This article analyzes the role of social work in the context of the special political, economic, cultural, and historical background in China. A historical perspective is used to understand the evolution of the Chinese welfare system and explain the timing of reintroducing the social work profession. A pluralistic perspective is adopted to define social work relating to different stakeholders in social welfare and services. The government starts to diminish its role as a direct service provider. The traditional family and community have less capacity to take care of people. Yet, the social work profession is not ready to take over. Finally, a social development perspective is used to illustrate why economic growth is prioritized by the Chinese government and social work as profession is supposed to work to promote social stability and prosperity. Implications for social work research and practice are discussed.

Author Biography

Jieru Bai, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Assistant Professor Grace Abbott School of Social Work University of Nebraska at Omaha