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 here 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 (US$554. 2 million) from 800 million yuan (US$96.4 million) in 2000. The figure for local governments over the same period rose from 2.96 billion yuan (US$356.6 million) to 5.93 billion yuan (US$714.5 million).
The whole country paid 7.38 billion yuan (US$889.2 million) to ensure about 20 million urban citizens' basic living standards from January to September this year, Yang said.
(Xinhua News Agency October 25, 2002)