China put a set of amended regulations into practice on Wednesday which are aimed at providing daily care and financial support for the country's most needy people.
The amendments expand the regulation covering the Five Guarantees Granted to Farmers, including a regular supply of food, clothing, housing, medical care and a proper burial.
The amended regulation brings the responsibility for aiding poor farmers into the public financial system. It shifts the financial burden for basic care from a fund paid by farmers to government budgets.
"The practice turns a brand new page in China's rural social security history," said Li Xueju, the minister of Civil Affairs, at a meeting on implementing the regulation.
The new regulation covers senior citizens, disabled, children under 16, and those unable to work.
Sources with the Ministry of Civil Affairs shows that by the end of 2005, China has included 3.285 million people into Five Guarantees, giving each 989.7 yuan (US$123.7) annually.
(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2006)