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Income gap critical by 2010, experts warn
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-22 05:58

The National Bureau of Statistics forecasted over the weekend that per capita urban income this year is likely to surpass 10,000 yuan (US$1,234).

Last year, the average annual income for rural residents reached 2,936 yuan (US$355), far behind that of urban residents, whose average annual income was 9,422 yuan (US$1,139) in 2004.

The team found that income disparity in rural areas is very close to the "red light." Average farmers earned 3.39 times as much as officially-designated poor farmers in 2004. In 1992, the disparity was only 2.45 times as much.

"The government's top priority is to make those farmers still in poverty earn more," the team concludes in a report.

A gap also exists among the urban residents. "And the gap is growing," added Xu Fengxian, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

He said incomes of laid-off workers are decreasing while the wallets of private business owners have been fattening at incredible rates.

The government has already become concerned by the growing income disparity.

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