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China Pledges Increased Aid to Low-income Urban Citizens
The Chinese government will inject more money into ensuring the basic living standards of its low-income urban citizens, Yang Yanyin, Vice-Minister of Civil Affairs, said Thursday.

Yang made the remarks at a national conference on the guarantee of urban citizens' basic living standards held in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province. He said it is imperative to increase relief funds to make sure every citizen living below basic standards can receive aid.

Yang also urged local governments to increase their financial appropriation for funds aiding low-income urban citizens. However, since local governments face more financial pressures, he said the appropriation from the central government has been and will keep increasing.

In addition to people living below basic standards, China includes for relief those unemployed since the country shifted to a market economy. Yang said this inclusion has added to local governments' difficulty.

The vice-minister said China might feel a heavier burden as the country reforms its control over registration for urban residence and restructures its industries since it entered the World Trade Organization.

Official statistics show the appropriation from the central government this year soared to 4.6 billion yuan (554. 2 million US dollars) from 800 million yuan (96.4 million US dollars) in 2000. The figure for local governments over the same period rose from 2.96 billion yuan (356.6 million US dollars) to 5.93 billion yuan (714.5 million US dollars).

The whole country paid 7.38 billion yuan (889.2 million US dollars) to ensure about 20 million urban citizens' basic living standards from January to September this year, Yang said.

(People's Daily October 25, 2002)

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