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China's local governments upgrade efforts to tackle wealth disparities

01-21-2011 08:51 BJT

BEIJING, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- China's local governments have pledged to adjust income distribution for urban and rural residents, seeking to tackle disparities in wealth, instead of only focusing on gross domestic product (GDP) figures.

Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing, the three municipalities, all put forward such goals in their recent government work reports to annual sessions of local people's congresses and political advisory bodies.

Local governments' targets showed that concrete actions and increased efforts would be taken to narrow income gaps, which had witnessed unceasing expansion with the country's economic growth, said Wang Yukai, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, in an interview with Xinhua.

Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong said on Sunday that the capital city would target an 8 percent per annum GDP growth rate in the 2011-to-2015 period, one percentage point lower than the target for the 2006-2010 period.

Beijing's economic growth will go, hand in glove, with the improved livelihood of the people, he said, noting that the city would also achieve an 8 percent annual increase in income for urban and rural residents, two percentage points higher than in the past five years.

In the 2006-to-2010 period, Beijing reported average annual GDP growth of 11 percent.

The local government of Shanghai also said Sunday in its work report that the city would target an 8 percent GDP growth rate in 2011, with the increase of disposable income per capita keeping pace with that of economic growth.

Chongqing Municipality in southwest China was the country's first provincial-level region to reveal its rating of the Gini Coefficient, which is the internationally recognized wealth distribution index.

Local government made the pledge to reduce the index from the current 0.42 to 0.35 in the coming five years in its work report distributed last week. As for Gini coefficient, 0.4 is a critical threshold.

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