China raises poverty line for farmers

Updated: 2011-11-29 14:58


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BEIJING - The Chinese central government decides on Tuesday to raise its standard in defining the poverty line for the nation's farmers.

The threshold is to be raised to 2,300 yuan (about $362) in terms of the annual net income of farmers, up 92 percent from the standard set in 2009.

The government has a goal of providing adequate food and clothing for poverty-stricken people while ensuring their access to compulsory education, basic medical services and housing by 2020, an official in charge of poverty reduction said earlier this month.

The widening wealth gaps between urban and rural areas, different regions and between the rich and poor in China were worrisome, said Fan Xiaojian, head of the Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development under the State Council.

The average per capita income of China's urban residents was 3.23 times that of rural residents in 2010, he said in an interview with Xinhua.

China increased its spending on poverty reduction from 12.75 billion yuan in 2001 to 34.93 billion yuan in 2010, representing an average annual growth rate of 11.9 percent, according to a government white paper on poverty reduction released this month.

The country had reduced its poverty-stricken population in rural regions to 26.88 million at the end of 2010 from 94.22 million a decade ago, said the white paper.