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Bridging the Poverty Gap
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More efforts should be made to help low-income families and poor groups, says a commentary in Beijing News. An excerpt follows:

According to a recent report of Xinhua News Agency, the Gini co-efficient, a key gauge of income disparity in which zero indicates complete equality while one indicates complete inequality, reached 0.45 in China in 2004, which has passed the internationally recognized danger level of 0.4.

The bottom 10 percent of low-income earning families possess less than 2 percent of total wealth while the top 10 percent of wealthiest families own more than 40 percent of the possessions. The gap between regions is rather huge. The per capita GDP in the wealthy eastern regions is more than 10 times that in poor western regions. The massive income gap is a major factor that affects our social harmony. More attention should be attached to these low-income earners.

Some analysts say that institutional construction is needed to improve social fairness and let low-income earners and the poor group enjoy more fruits of reform and developments. The Xinhua report also pointed out that coordinating all interest relations and promoting social harmony are the major contents to construct a better-off society.

Obviously social fairness is the key to solving problems concerning low-income earners and poor groups.

A report issued by the World Bank this year points out that inequality of opportunities will go across generations and fall into a vicious circle. Therefore it is rather important to realize social equality from all aspects. In fact, from "giving priority to efficiency with due consideration to fairness" to "promoting fairness and stability in society," more and more efforts have been taken in recent years.

At present, special attention should be given to the following aspects. First, equal opportunity of education should be guaranteed. The government should invest more in education and ensure equal distribution of the limited educational resources.

Second, the public service function of the government should be enhanced. The government should provide more public services and goods. Third, the construction of social security system should be speeded up.

(China Daily October 9, 2006)

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