Wealth gap high on new leadership's agenda

By He Shan
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, November 12, 2012
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As the 18th National Congress of the CPC is convened to prepare for a new generation of leadership, one of the government's most urgent tasks may be the country's widening gap between rich and poor.


Delegates walk out of the Great Hall of the People on the sideline of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.


China's wealth gap has given rise to a series of pressing problems, including worsening social tensions and a growing resentment of the rich.

On Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of twitter, Internet users are abuzz about the astonishingly ballooning affluence of famous people, who are mostly from real estate companies. Over the past three decades, a construction boom created a large group of millionaires.

Macaren Vidal Liy, a correspondent for Spain's International News Agency, noticed a remarkable contrast when she lived in China's capital of Beijing. "Many rich people drive very luxurious cars, while many other people just ride bicycles."

What Liy saw in Beijing is far from the real picture of China's widening inequality. In China, 128 million people are living on 1.25 dollar a day. Most of them are living in rural areas.

In contrast, China had 960,000 millionaires with more than 10 million yuan in personal wealth in 2010, according to a 2011 Hurun report.

The last time Chinese officials published a Gini coefficient, a gauge of income distribution, was in 2000, when they announced that China's 2000 figure was 0.412. A Gini-coefficient of 0.4 is considered as the international warning level for dangerous levels of inequality. After 2002, the figures released by non-government institutions showed that income disparity continued to widen.

With so many farmers left untouched by China's economic boom, the government has been working to make ensure that 1.3 billion people can equally enjoy the fruits of China's success.

In 2006, the Chinese government scraped a centuries-old agricultural tax in a move to ease farmers' burdens and bridge the gap between rural and urban areas.

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