China has increased the monthly minimum living allowance by 15
yuan (2.05 U.S. dollars) in urban areas per person and by 10 yuan
for rural residents this year, the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA)
said on Monday.
The MCA and the Ministry of Finance jointly issued a circular
ordering much importance should be attached to the impact of
consumer price increases of basic life necessities on poor
It asked local authorities to "increase allowances and deliver
extra subsidies to the needy so as to ensure them a happy and
harmonious Spring Festival".
The allowances should be delivered on time, it said.
The average monthly allowance in 2007 was 182.4 yuan in urban
areas per person and 70 yuan in rural areas. The rural allowance
was less than that in urban areas because living costs there were
The rural minimum living allowance system was formally
established last year in all 31 provinces, autonomous regions and
municipalities on the Chinese mainland, 10 years after the system
was set up in urban areas.
Under the system, subsidies vary by region according to economic
conditions, but the basic requirement is to enable low-income
people in urban and rural areas to have adequate food and
The number of rural beneficiaries was 34.5 million in 2007, an
increase of 19.48 million or 128.7 percent from the previous year,
Beneficiaries include villagers who suffer chronic living
difficulties because of illness, disability, aging or poor living
Official statistics showed China had 21.48 million rural people
with an annual income of less than 85 U.S. dollars in 2006.
More than 22.7 million low-income urban residents received
minimum living allowances last year, an increase of 300,000 people
(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2008)