Closing gap between haves and have-nots
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-17 07:12
A new report is urging the Chinese Government to focus on giving migrant
workers and farmers a fair chance since the gap between the haves and have-nots
has already become a threat toward the country's social harmony.
set of policy suggestions to close the gap between them and other social groups
in China was found in the China National Human Development Report 2005 released
on Friday, which was commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme
A man collects recyclable garbage next
to girls relaxing in a park in Shanghai, in this picture taken May
9, 2004. The gap between rich and poor in Shanghai is widening
rapidly although the economy of China's financial hub grew 13.5 per
cent in the first quarter of the
The government should take actions to ensure the punctual payment of
salaries, provision of shelter, access to education for children, social
security entitlements and union membership, the report said.
"Achieving development with greater equity and ensuring that all people,
including the disadvantaged groups, have equal opportunities and a decent life
free from poverty should be the future focus of China's future development
plans," said Khalid Malik, UN Resident Co-ordinator and UNDP Resident
Representative in China, in an interview with China Daily.
UNDP China expected the report, with the theme of "Towards Development with
Equity," to become a major reference for the policy makers of the Chinese
Government, which has been busy drafting its 11th Five-year (2006-10) Economic
and Social Development Plan.
China has been trying to find a balance between efficiency and equality in
income distribution. As the country's economy took off, however, priority was
given to efficiency, and a huge number of farmers, migrants and even some urban
labourers at the lower rungs of the social ladder have been economically
affected, according to the report.
Even in the relatively developed Pearl River Delta in South China's Guangdong
Province, a migrant worker earns only around 700 yuan (US$85) per month. In
Chinese rural areas, about 30 million people still live in poverty and 60
million live close to the national poverty line with an annual income of 637
The report said that it's of great importance to promote fairness in income
distribution as a way to curb unstable factors that could endanger social
stability and public security.
China's Gini coefficient an internationally accepted measurement of income
equality was estimated by some research organizations at 0.45 this year. The
"alarm boundary" stands at 0.4. The coefficient was 0.30 in 1982 and 0.45 in
2002. Among the 131 countries in the UNDP's updated survey, only 31 countries
are in a worse situation than China in terms of equality in income distribution.
"We need to look at the problems and come up with
constructive suggestions," said Lu Mai, secretary-general of the China
Development Research Foundation. "It is high time for the government to target
balanced social development as a major policy target as China is trying to
quadruple its economy by 2020."