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Hopes high on income distribution reform

Updated: 2013-11-07 13:56
( Xinhua)

BEIJING -- Income distribution reform has once again come under the spotlight in China as observers pin high hopes on the upcoming key session of the Communist Party of China CPC scheduled to open on Saturday.

In February, the government unveiled a guideline to reform income distribution mechanisms amid growing public concern over the widening wealth gap, though details on a timetable for the reform have yet to be made available.

"There's no doubt it's at the top of agenda, considering the urgency of the issue," said Chi Fulin, president of the China Institute for Reform and Development, a Hainan-based think tank.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported in January that in 2012, China's Gini coefficient, a widely used measure of income distribution, was 0.474, in which zero equals perfect equality.

Chi said he believes a whole package of detailed policies will come after the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee.

China has been working on income distribution reform since 2004, but people's expectations have been unfulfilled. Powerful interest groups, such as state-owned monopolies, have become a major target of public complaint.

"That is why college graduates try to break into state-owned enterprises or become civil servants, because higher welfare will be guaranteed," said Zhao Xiaoming, who graduated from Sichuan Normal University in July and has failed to find his dream job as a school teacher.

In a widely-watched move, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission launched an investigation into the incomes of employees of state-owned organizations or enterprises in mid-August, with a new investigation item targeting "hidden income" included.

The investigation is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

"It's directed at the crux of the problem," said Chi. "You can't make a fair distribution before you actually know how much you have. The investigation results will be an important reference to push forward income distribution reform."

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