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A report by the Japanese Government shows that China edged past Japan in Gross Domestic Product in the second quarter. Economists predict that China will probably maintain its lead over Japan for the duration of 2010. But despite the milestone, China still remains a developing economy, with a lower per capita GDP compared to other developed countries.
Chinese economists estimate that China's GDP lead over Japan will hold until the end of 2010 thanks to a predicted fourth quarter boost and a likely appreciation of the yuan.
China overtook Germany in 2007 as the world's third-largest economy in terms of total GDP. It ranked seventh globally a decade ago. Japan has held the number two spot behind the US since 1968.
But despite emerging as an economic power, China remains far behind many countries if per capita GDP is taken into account.
The Commerce Ministry says China has more than 40 million people living below its official poverty line, and their lives should be improved.
Yao Jian, Spokesman of Chinese Commerce Ministry, said, "There are many things that can't be showed by the data, which is that China's economic development still needs to be raised. Both in improving people's lives and in developing environmental protection and technology. In China, the economic development of education, culture, and public healthcare lags behind many countries."
China has responded to calls from some countries that it should shoulder more responsibilities in the international affairs. The Chinese Foreign Ministry notes that China is still a developing country, and the responsibilities it should shoulder can not be decided by any single country or organization, but by China itself.
Meanwhile, many Chinese experts say that despite the fast expanding GDP, China is still bothered by domestic problems such as poverty and a widening wealth gap, which thwarts its efforts to take on more international responsibilities. They also stress that responsibility on the international scene should result in a greater say in global bodies.