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China stresses people's livelihood and equity to address imbalance

03-07-2014 23:19 BJT Special Report:China’s Leaders |
Special Report:2014 NPC & CPPCC Sessions |

BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The unbalanced development of Chinese society has gained the government's attention and measures to reverse it are already on track, according to overseas experts.

According to a May 2013 Pew Research poll on public attitudes towards the economic outlook, Chinese were the most optimistic, with 88 percent of those surveyed pleased with the current economic conditions in their country.

But, more than half those public surveyed deemed the rich-poor gap a very big problem. The Gini coefficient -- a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income distribution of a nation's residents -- stood at 0.473 in China. A reading above 0.4 usually marks strong inequality.

The imbalance in wealth distribution is an indication of a society's unbalanced development, and rectification is already underway.

In Premier Li Keqiang's government work report delivered to the nation's top legislature earlier this week, issues such as urban-rural integration, education, the pension system, employment, and income distribution, were mentioned and given specific solutions.

The integration of urban and rural areas was seen as a breakthrough point to address the social imbalance.

In Li's report, China will grant urban residency to about 100 million rural people who have moved to cities, rebuild shanty towns and villages inside cities that are home to 100 million people, and guide the urbanization of about 100 million rural residents of cities in the central and western regions.

Li said the government would steadily extend basic public services to fully cover the permanent population of cities and towns, including the rural people who live in them.

Andrey Ostrovsky, deputy director of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said a social insurance system with full coverage could release peasants' purchasing potential and expand the consumer market.

The World Bank estimates two thirds of Chinese will live in cities by 2030, meaning about 400 million of the agricultural population will move to urban areas in less than 20 years.

The migration process will create huge demand in investment and consumption, becoming a driving force for China's future economic growth.

According to Cheng Yung-nien, professor and director of the East Asia Institute at the National University of Singapore, people's livelihood is very important and matters to the success of China's reform in the next step.

"The key is to give equal chances," Cheng said. "Many destabilizing factors are related to the livelihood issue." If the development made the rich richer and the poor poorer, it was a destabilizing development, he said.

At a time of economic and social transition, with acute structural imbalances, the Chinese government has sent out a clear message of laying equal stress on growth and people's livelihood, and its efforts to strike a balance between efficiency and equity.


Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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