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Living Allowances
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The authorities should show due respect to the applicants of the minimum living allowances, says a signed article at The following is an excerpt:

Officials from the municipal civil affairs department in Shenzhen reportedly tried to be kind and understanding to the applicants of minimum living allowances.

"If we doubt their honesty by assuming they want to take advantage of the minimum living allowance scheme, the applicants would think the government was being harsh to them," one official said in the report.

The Shenzhen officials have set a good example. In other cities, the local municipalities are not showing the same benevolence.

Many of them impose restrictions upon the minimum living allowance applicants. It is stipulated in some cities that a family would stop getting the allowance if it possesses computers, keeps pets or even receives financial aid from friends.

Such restrictions have cast a shadow on the minimum living allowance scheme. They might have deprived the needy families of the allowances or they might also have harmed the rights of the families receiving allowances.

One of the reasons behind these restrictions might be that local governments want to prevent the possible abuse of government welfare. But being too harsh to the allowance applicants would make the welfare less effective to shelter the people it wants to help.

The minimum living allowance is meant to aid people who cannot make ends meet with their own hands. Officials should extend this basic protection to someone rather than expel him even if his qualification appears a bit questionable.

Such trust and generosity would be easily felt by people and they would surely reward it with gratitude.

The civil affairs department should find ways to protect the dignity of the needy families in their investigations.

(China Daily August 18, 2007)

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