China announces measures to promote social justice

(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-10-19 08:57

China has announced detailed measures to promote social justice, including the adjustment of income and public finance distribution, and the expansion of social security coverage.

The full text of the Resolution on Major Issues Regarding the Building of a Harmonious Socialist Society, adopted at the Sixth Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Oct. 11, was published on Wednesday.

Adjusting Income Distribution

The resolution said macro-regulation on income distribution will be strengthened in future. Concerted efforts will be made to improve income for low-income groups and to gradually expand the medium-income group in order to promote common prosperity.

To improve income for low-income groups, the government will create more jobs, lower taxes for farmers, improve the minimum wage system, guarantee a routine and gradual wage increase system and gradually raise social security standards, said the resolution.

A civil servant's salary system which takes into account both a civil servant's position and rank will be further improved.

Regional subsidy standards for civil servants will be regulated and the subsidy system for those working in remote and backward areas will be improved, the resolution stated.

The income of managerial staff in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) will be regulated. The gap between the salaries of managerial staff and common employees in SOEs will be reduced, it continued.

Reform in monopolized industries will be speeded up. The system of controlling total salary volume of monopolized enterprises will be improved and strictly implemented, according to the regulation.

Over the past 20 years, China's income gap has widened dramatically. In 2005, the per capita income ratio between urban citizens and rural residents was 3.22 to 1.

The country's Gini coefficient, an international measurement of income disparity, is estimated to have exceeded the danger level of 0.4.

The regional income gap is also yawning, with the per capita GDP of the country's most wealthy province over 10 times that of the poorest province.

And in recent years, the excessively high salaries for employees in some monopolized industries and managers of some SOEs have been frequent causes for criticism from the Chinese people.

Expanding Coverage of Social Security System

To promote social justice, improving the social security system is a key task, the resolution emphasized.

The government will build a social security system which covers both rural and urban areas and adapts to an aging society, the country's urbanization and employment diversity, it said.

Social security funds will be raised through various channels and be well supervised to avoid depreciation in their value, said the resolution.

A minimum living allowance system will be gradually established in rural areas. Various old-age pension systems will be established in some comparatively developed rural areas. A basic medical insurance system will be improved for urban employees.

The establishment of a new rural cooperative medical system will be quickened, according to the resolution. In a recent report, Minister of Health Gao Qiang claimed that China will establish a new rural cooperative medical system covering 700 million farmers in 2010 with an annual capital input of 30 billion yuan from the state coffers.

Adjusting Public Finance Distribution

The resolution said public finance will be poured into public service sectors such as education, health, culture, employment, social security, environmental protection and infrastructure development.

Great efforts will be made to relieve financial difficulties at county and township-level to enhance local governments' ability to provide public services, it said.

To promote social justice, China will safeguard citizens' democratic rights, improve legislation and improve the judicial system, it said.