This book has been a long time in the making. Its origins lie in our first meeting in Sheffield in 1987, the day after the spectacular stock market crash. More recently our joint paper published in 1996 was an argument against the exclusion of East Asian welfare systems, especially China’s, from the welfare state ‘club’ and the ethnocentrism of western social policy research. Eight years on, it is not possible to say that this exclusion and ethnocentrism have been overcome in the analysis of welfare systems, but there are certainly more publications on welfare in China and East Asia and signs of a growing interest in this topic. We hope that this book will fuel that interest. There are many excellent scholars in East Asian countries who would like to collaborate with their western counterparts.
We have accumulated many debts in the production of this book and our thanks go first to the authors, many of whom are good friends as well as colleagues. It has been a privilege to work with such a talented team. Sen Gong provided helpful advice. Thanks to Dawn Rushen, Natasha Ferguson, Laura Greaves and Rowena Mayhew at The Policy Press for their patience and support. Marg Walker, Alison Ball and Rachel Bunting prepared the manuscript for publication with great skill and perseverance. Finally, thanks go to our families, especially Carol and Peggy, who supported us while we completed this project, and during many others as well.
University of Sheffield
Chack-kie Wong Chinese
University of Hong Kong