Opinion / From the Press

Gini coefficient move the start of a long battle

( Updated: 2013-01-21 21:37

The national statistics authority announced the Gini coefficient of China from 2003 to 2012 recently. What about setting the nation's Gini coefficient target for 2020 at below 0.4, asks an article in Beijing News Daily.

Here are excerpts:

China has made progress in announcing its Gini coefficient from 2003 to 2012.

Its reluctance to disclose this indicator before has long been regarded as an indicator of the Chinese government's concern over the widening income gap.

The announcement of the authoritative indicator also serves as a reference for the public.

The Gini coefficient is used to measure income inequality, with a figure of 0 representing equality and 1 inequality.

China's Gini coefficient for 2012 is 0.474, indicating a wide income gap. This indicator rose from 2003 to 2008 and gradually declined from 2009 to 2012. Although the official indicator is controversial for many, announcing it means the government is starting to approach the challenge of the income gap from a more professional perspective. It seems that this is only a beginning for the country to address such an important issue.

To begin with, the primary objective for China's income distribution reform is to double the average personal income by 2020 from the level of 2010. Only when the Gini coefficient drops lower than 0.4 can the government really say that Chinese society is well-off.

Secondly, a system of publicizing government officials' property should be established and enforced as soon as possible to eliminate "grey income", and the authorities must make tax adjustment an effective means to reallocate national wealth.

Thirdly, a wage negotiation mechanism should be formed to give laborers more power to defend their legal rights.

Lastly, the government should reform China's urban-rural social insurance formats and ensure equality in public services, housing, education and medical care among all nationals.

Announcing the country's Gini coefficient paves the way for the government to openly combat the income gap problem. But it takes more than wisdom and courage to win the battle without threatening the stability of the country and society.

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