Chapter 3 in Wu, B., Morgan, W.J., (eds.), Chinese Higher Education Reform and Social Justice, pp 51-64
In recent years there has been an increase in awareness of social justice, equality and rights issues among Chinese citizens including university teachers (Li, 2011). The higher education (HE) sector is an important example of this because of its potential for developing and disseminating new ideas about a just society, and in influencing policy-makers. An example is the role of university teachers in influencing students, both directly and indirectly, through their lectures, public statements and personal behaviour. University teachers influence the younger generation of Chinese professionals, the future leaders of the nation, in their understanding, development and use of the concept of social justice in China. It is important for us to observe and understand this process as a key to the development of a professional community in a post-socialist society where there is tension between the different understandings and expectations of ‘professionalism’ (Kaurin and Morgan, 2014). In this chapter, we consider specifically the term ‘decent work’, which is often used by Chinese university teachers to reflect on their employment and, especially, on their working conditions, which are often seen as unfair or unjust. Based on a survey of a number of universities in Beijing, we examine the distribution of incomes among university teachers, together with their perceptions of and requests for ‘decent work’.