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Gov't to Reduce Income Gap Through Reform: Officials
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The Chinese government will push reforms on pay and distribution to make the society a "harmonious" one, according to government sources.

The reform will be aimed at cutting down the income gap between urbanites and villagers, between people living in different areas, and between workers in different industries, the sources said.

According to the sources with the Ministry of Personnel, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Civil Affairs, and Ministry of Labor and Security, the reforms will also improve the socialist market economy.

The reforms will increase the income of the low-income class, increase the proportion of the middle-class, readjust the income of the rich people, and prohibit people from making illegal earnings, according to the officials.

The existing wage system for civil servants has lagged behind the development of the socialist market economy, casting negative impacts on the enthusiasm and stability of civil servants in the country, the sources said.

According to official figures, 60 percent of Chinese civil servants working in governments at county level and lower levels, while 92 percent are low-rank government workers.

Under a new wage system, low-rank civil servants will have more opportunities to receive larger salaries and receive more subsidies if they work in remote and poverty-stricken areas.

The government will allocate more funds for retirement pensions and grant more subsidies to low-income families and retired people including revolutionary veterans, according to the officials.

The reforms are aimed at allowing all Chinese people to enjoy the fruits of the reform, opening up and modernization drive, they emphasized.

Living standards in China have improved alongside its fast economic development over the past decades, but the income gaps between urbanites and villagers as well people from different regions and industries have continued to grow, according to the officials.

(Xinhua News Agency July 18, 2006)

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