'New social stratum' playing important role in China

Updated: 2007-02-14 20:58

BEIJING -- The Chinese government has publicly praised the contribution of private entrepreneurs, small-business owners and managerial-level staff in private or foreign-funded enterprises to the country's economic development.

It considers 50 million such professionals as members of a "new social stratum", who possess or manage capital totaling 10 trillion yuan (about US$1.3 trillion).

"This 'new social stratum' accounts for more than half of the country's technical patents, contributes nearly one third of the country's total tax revenues and provides jobs for more than half of the total number of job-seekers each year," Chen Xiqing, deputy head of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee told the People's Daily.

Chen said that the United Front Work Department has been working to establish an evaluation system for the high-flying professionals in order to recommend some of the most successful people for governmental posts.

Some members of the so-called "new social stratum" have already been elected as deputies of the National People's Congress (NPC) and members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Other professionals have been recommended to work as prosecutors and auditors in judicial and governmental departments.

The concept of a specific "social stratum" harks back to the 1960s and 70s when Chinese society was clearly divided into five strata - farmer, worker, intellectual, cadre and soldier.


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