Iron rice bowl

“Iron rice bowl” ( simplified Chinese : 铁饭碗 ; traditional Chinese : 鐵飯碗 ; pinyin : Tie fàn wǎn ) is a Chinese term used to Refer to an occupation with guaranteed job security , as well as steady income and benefits. [1] The Chinese term can be compared to the similar (but not identical) English concept of a “job for life”. Traditionally, people regarded to-have iron rice bowls include military personnel, members of the civil service , as well as employees of various state run companies (through the mechanism of the work unit). [2]

Because the “Iron Rice Bowl” is a stable standard of living of the stress of the work of the worker, the term is sometimes used to describe a worker and / or unproductive workers. quote needed ]

Recent moves at cutting benefits and privatization of various state run businesses in Taiwan Such As the Taiwan Railway Administration and China Airlines -have led Many de ces industries to Believe That Their iron rice bowls are in jeopardy, and HAS led to strikes (and threats thereof) , as well as being the subject of much political debate.


The origin of the term “iron rice bowl” came from Jǐ ​​Yún’s diary, Notes of the Thatched Abode of Close Observations ( Simplified Chinese : 阅 微 草堂 笔记 ; Traditional Chinese : 閱 微 草堂 筆記 ; Pinyin : Yuèwēi cǎotáng bǐjì ): A beautiful maid works in a squire’s home. One day, the maid breaks a bowl, but the squire does not punish her because of her beauty. After that, the maid breaks more and more bowls. In response, the squire decides to change all bowls to iron bowls. The maid does not need to work, but she still gets paid. [3]Therefore, the “iron rice bowl” is described as a stable or even a lifelong occupation that provides steady income and welfare, and the two key terms of the “iron rice bowl” are job entry guarantee and exit control. [4]


After the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, private-owned enterprises were replaced by state-owned enterprises. Based on its needs, the government also establishes public institutions. According to Article 2 of the Interim Regulation on the Registration of Public Institutions,

The term “public institutions” or “institutions” or “institutions” or “institutions” or “institutions” or “institutions” or “institutions” or “institutions” for the purpose of engaging in science, culture and technology and hygiene. [5]

As a result, the state became the recruiter and employer. The state not only paid employees, but also provided social benefits, which ranks from gifts in Chinese Festivals and Holidays to Welfare and Retirement Plans. [6] Because these state-run enterprises and institutions are covered by the same salary. There was a sentence to describe the situation: “No matter whether one works or not, one gets paid thirty-six a month”. [7] Because there was no merit pay, workers were less motivated. Therefore, most sectors experienced the issue of employment redundancy. The effect of employment redundancy includes employees ‘low efficiency and employers’ high-cost. [6]

Initiated from the establishment of the PRC, the Chinese Communist Party was supposed to provide job opportunities for everyone. [6] The CCP’s promise to the Chinese people was crucial when it came to having a good time. [4]Due to the Japanese invasion and the Civil War directly afterwards, the Republic of China (ROC) suffered from hyperinflation from 1948-1949. Money became worthless and the basic life of the urban population became unsustainable. [6]The adoption of the rice bowl provided. In order to maintain, the government encourages the public sector to

Even though the employment was high during the Great Leap Forward Period (1958-62), after its failure, many projects have been proposed during that period were shut down. As a result, the government needed to remove around 20 percent of the labor force. The size of the rice bowl is shrinking. [8]

When Deng Xiaoping began his labor reforms in the People’s Republic of China in the 1980s to boost economic productivity, the government was one of the first to go. [9] He has a China to a centrally-planned economy to a more free-market economy, his supporters insisted that the Chinese rice bowl had to be smashed if China was to modernize. During the 1978 Rural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping implicitly set an end to the rice bowl with the implementation of a number of economic reforms that were meant to embrace free markets. [10]These Reforms included the replacement of the collective farming system with a “household responsibility system,” under qui Households Could contract land, machinery, and facilities from collective organisms in order to make independent operating decisions without losing the value of unified, collective management. [ 11] This meant that farmers were able to pay more as a result of their own crops, as they were able to be more productive than they were able to meet the collective quotas. productivity and food supplies in those areas. [12]

Deng Xiaoping also makes it more flexible and allows them to rise above the government-mandated price floors. In 1980, they were not qualified, they were not qualified, they were not qualified, they were not qualified, they were not qualified, efficient, or capable enough. Under this new system, workers were examined and worked for six months on probationary terms, before a long-term contract for 3-5 years was negotiated. Children were also longer able to parent their family. Further changes included an expansion of the reasons for which an employee could be fired, the ability to use a routine job transfer. Workers have been more than satisfied with customer satisfaction, which has been particularly relevant to customer-based industries, such as restaurant businesses and retail.[13]

The Chinese Constitution was amended in 1992, when Deng Xiaoping garnered the political backing and Party Secretary General Jiang Zemin provided the initiative. The revised constitution provides for a “socialist market economy” with “Chinese characteristics”, which are welcomed by a variety of forms of ownership, especially “privately-owned, individually-owned, and foreign-invested” enterprises. Still, public ownership at all levels of government. At the Fifteenth Party Congress in September 1997, Jiang announced that it would be accelerated. He proposed two new initiatives: major lay-offs and the divestiture of smaller state enterprises through mergers, leasing, selloffs, and, in some cases, bankruptcy. Since then, the government is willing to go much further, announcing plans to sell more than 10,000 of China’s 13,000 medium-sized and large state enterprises.[6]

As a condition for joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, China had to “break the Iron Rice bowl”, a step that was disputed by some economists. [14] [15]

Toilets to break the iron rice bowl in Guangdong province in 2011 with a new plan of grassroots recruitment, employment by contract, and pay based on performance. The new arrangement will be included in the 12th Five-year plans of the People’s Republic of China (2011-2015). [16]

Current Situation

Since the reform started in 1997, a large number of SOE employees have been retired. The reform thus created substantial unemployment risks to SOE workers relative to government workers. Up to this day, government Officials, Often Known As 公务员 ; 公務員 ; gōngwùyuán , resulting in inefficiency and corruption. Under Xi Jinping’s presidency, there have been major efforts to eliminate corruption within the government. Xi made His intention to purge the system are clear various occasions and China HAS Witnessed the Arrests of high-ranking government Officials Such As Bo Xilai , Xu Caihou, and Zhou Yongkang .


Some scholars claim that life and employment are not the root of the problem. The key issue pertains to the contradiction between individual, collective, and state interests. The state-owned enterprises had to go all out to the state, and they were paid by the country, with little relationship to the financial situation of the enterprise. Employees and workers were not able to develop a strong economic identity with their enterprises or the economic performance of the enterprise. This is one of the reasons for the general lack of work in China. [17]Scholars argues that “The crux of the issue of workers’ incentives lay with the state-oriented ethos rather than the practice of lifetime employment”. [17]

Given the fact that the positions of government officials were not so great, the position of the government was not so great. The CCP may be able to deal with the issue of climate change, but it may be possible to settle the groundwork for possible grassroots uprisings. [13]

Economic Impact

Scholars claim that the rice bowl keeps China reaching for its economic potential and reaching maximum productivity. Similarly, workers who received a paycheck irrespective of how much they produced, had no incentive to be more efficient and produce more output. However, this is not the only reason China fell behind economically. State enterprises lacked new technologies that were already being used in other countries, due to the high costs of providing public services and upholding the wages promised by the state. This is one of the leading leads to low levels of productivity, and little economic growth. Yet, the government, which relies on the iron rice bowl for social stability in order to maintain authoritarian control,[13]

During the time of China’s economic reform in 1978, the SOE sector has been substantially reduced and the requirement to implement full-employment. In 1995 and 1996, around 50% of the SOEs (mostly small or medium-sized) reported losses (Meng, 2003). The Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 exacerbated the situation. The Chinese government has been forced to take action to improve the efficiency of SOEs and to stem losses. [18]

Women and the Iron Rice Bowl

While New Marriage Law was first introduced under the Communist Party, the women were still greatly affected by the New Marriage Law. The establishment of the All-China Democratic Women’s Federation (ACWF) did not help to improve women’s status. In order to achieve gender equality, women need to join the labor force as men did. However, neither the CCP nor the CCP nor the ACWF has been established in China. As a result, even after 1949, most Chinese women in rural areas still did not join the workforce. They remained at home as caretakers. Only educated women were given part-time jobs opportunities. [4]

Although the Leap Forward was a failure, women’s employment opportunities were improving during that period. Unrealistic quotas were set, both in industry and in agriculture. In order to achieve mass production, a larger labor force was necessary. Therefore, men were mobilized to work on mining, irrigation or other industrial projects while agricultural work, which was traditionally taken care of by men, was left behind. [19]In order to maintain agricultural work, women were mobilized to the agricultural work. Both both both founded both. Both.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,…………………. Women have been relied upon for some of their work because of their need for accelerated production. They are well versed in their work, they have suffered from their health during that time.

Taiwan & Hong Kong

The iron rice bowl’s position in the PRC is relatively unique for the region. The iron rice bowl was not as prolific in Taiwan as it was in mainland China. Taiwan has fewer state-owned enterprises (SOE’s) and more foreign-owned companies, and therefore lacks the infrastructure for a welfare state. In this regard, Taiwan has also experienced the loss of their security and benefits, largely escaping the destabilizing effects of rapid modernization. [20]

Hong Kong has historically been a center for foreign investment and home to less SOE’s. The area ‘s market reforms and status as a special economic zone has been mitigated, as Hong Kong has been more exposed to market pressures, especially those of the international market. Recently, government employment in Hong Kong has been seen as a poor job marketer. There has been increased hostility towards the management of the welfare state in Hong Kong. [21]

China, where young people still see the bureaucracy as a promising chance for employment and upward mobility. [22]

Other uses

In the Western society , the term has a similar usage. It has been popularized by Richard Lindzen in reference to government-funded scientists, and according to their conspiracy theory, using their research results to justify continuing government funding. Lindzen’s thesis is that the intrinsic link between reporting and funding provides incentives to report research results in such a way to ensure continued funding. [23] The related term “rice bowl” often refers to a military project which is being protected in the interests of a particular department rather than wider needs. [1]

The term is used to some extent in Singapore , [24] to form British Colony where the majority of citizens are ethnically Chinese. It’s also used in Korea [25] ( Hangul : 철 밥통 ; Hanja : 鐵 飯桶 ; RR : Cheolbaptong ) as a name for officials, not only because of their job stability, but also because of stable income. [26]


  1. ^ Jump up to:b “rice bowl” . Double-Tongued Dictionary . Retrieved 2007-01-02 .
  2. Jump up^ “China’s communist revolution: a glossary” . The People’s Republic at 50: Special report . BBC News . October 6, 1999.
  3. Jump up^ Yun Ji, 1798, Yuewei Hermitage, No.1.
  4. ^ Jump up to:c Ho-lup Fung, “The Making and Melting of the” Iron Rice Bowl “in China in 1949 to 1995” Social Policy & Administration 35, no. 3 (July 2001): 259.
  5. Jump up^ People’s Republic of China. The Interim Regulations On The Registration And Administration Of Private Non-Enterprise Units,
  6. ^ Jump up to:e Ho-lup Fung, “The Making and Melting of the” Iron Rice Bowl “in China in 1949 to 1995” Social Policy & Administration 35, no. 3 (July 2001): 258
  7. Jump up^ This sentence was translated from: 做 也 三 十六 不做 不做 三 三 Chinese Chinese
  8. Jump up^ Ho-lup Fung, “The Making and Melting of the” Iron Rice Bowl “in China 1949 to 1995,” Social Policy & Administration 35, no. 3 (July 2001): 264.
  9. Jump up^ [1]
  10. Jump up^ Berkowitz, Daniel, Hong Ma, and Shuichiro Nishioka. “Recasting the Iron Rice Bowl: The Reform of China’s State Owned Enterprises.” Review of Economics and Statistics, 2016, 1. doi: 10.1162 / rest_a_00637.
  11. Jump up^ “1983: Household Responsibility System.” 1983: Household Responsibility System. Accessed April 09, 2017.
  12. Jump up^ Baum, Julian. “Crack in China’s` `rice bowl. ” No more guaranteed employment, Peking says, in bid to boost productivity in factories.” The Christian Science Monitor. September 24, 1986. Accessed April 29, 2017.
  13. ^ Jump up to:c Hughes, Neil C. “Smashing the Iron Rice Bowl.” Foreign Affairs. January 28, 2009. Accessed April 09, 2017.
  14. Jump up^ Kim Petersen (August 18, 2003). “The Broken Iron Rice Bowl” . Dissident Voice.
  15. Jump up^ Martine Bulard (January 2006). “China breaks the iron rice bowl”. The diplomatic world.
  16. Jump up^ Zhao Chunzhe (December 6, 2011). “Civil servants to lose ‘iron rice bowl ‘” . . Retrieved December 8, 2011 .
  17. ^ Jump up to:b Lü Xiaobo and Elizabeth J. Perry. Danwei the changing Chinese workplace in historical and comparative perspective. London: Routledge, 2015.
  18. Jump up^ Hui He, Huang Feng, Zheng Liu, and Dongming Zhu. Breaking The “Iron Rice Bowl” and Precautionary Savings: Evidence from Chinese State-Owned Enterprises Reform.
  19. Jump up^ Kimberley Ens Manning, “Making a Great Leap Forward? The Politics of Liberation Women in Maoist China.” Gender & History 18, no. 3 (November 2006): 574.
  20. Jump up^ “Breaking China’s rice bowl ‘is easier said than done.” South China Morning Post. December 18, 2016. Accessed April 30, 2017. -done.
  21. Jump up^ “Ditching the ‘iron rice bowl’: quitting Hong Kong civil service.” South China Morning Post. April 13, 2016. Accessed April 30, 2017. -Kong.
  22. Jump up^ “The golden rice-bowl.” The Economist. November 24, 2012. Accessed April 30, 2017. -bowl.
  23. Jump up^ Richard S. Lindzen (December 1, 2004). “Climate Alarm- Where Does It Come From?” (Remarks to the George C. Marshall Institute) .
  24. Jump up^ Nicole Tan (January 2003). “Not an Iron Rice Bowl” .
  25. Jump up^ Yonhap News (March 2007). “Korean civil servants” iron rice bowl “in jeopardy” .
  26. Jump up^ Chung Ah-young (December 2015). “Gov’t seeks to break public servants” iron rice bowl ” ” .

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