Reform Shatters 'Iron Rice Bowl'

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Science  30 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5351, pp. 649
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5351.649a

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Li Hui BEIJING-- As many as one-half of the 49,000 researchers in the Chinese Academy of Sciences could lose their jobs under a plan to modernize operations and lower the cost of doing business. The changes will shrink the academy's current roster of 123 institutes by more than one-third and replace lifetime employment agreements with a system of short-term, renewable contracts. The restructuring is intended to break the "iron rice bowl," a Chinese term meaning a lifelong guarantee of employment and living subsidies under a planned economy.