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China's Communist Revolution - A Glossary
Iron Rice Bowl
Iron Rice Bowl
The Iron Rice Bowl is a Chinese idiom referring to the system of guaranteed lifetime employment in state enterprises. Job security and level of wages were not related to job performance - but adherence to party doctrine played a very important role. Under Mao Zedong's regime, all Chinese workers were under state control, with Communist Party and government officials controlling their social, political, and economic behavior. Workers in each work unit or danwei were under party members known as cadres. They controlled the allocation of housing, grain, edible oil, and cotton rations; the issuance of permits to travel, to marry, and to bear or adopt children; and permission to enter the army, party, and university and to change employment.