Bloomberg News

China Expands State Poverty Subsidies, Xinhua Says

November 29, 2011

(Corrects time period in second paragraph of story originally published Nov. 28.)

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- China raised its income standard for identifying individuals living in poverty, making more people eligible to receive government subsidies, the official Xinhua News Agency reported today.

Those earning 2,300 yuan a year ($362) will now be classified as living in poverty, making at least 100 million people eligible for state assistance, Xinhua reported. The income standard was increased 92 percent from the 2009 level, according to Xinhua.

Chinese leaders including Premier Wen Jiabao have pledged to narrow the nation’s widening income gap as the government seeks to assuage social discontent that could spark unrest. China is home to more than 150 million people who live on less than $1 a day, Vice Premier Li Keqiang said in January.

The nation had reduced the number of people living in poverty in rural areas to 26.88 million by the end of 2010, Xinhua reported, citing a government white paper released last month. Xinhua cited President Hu Jintao as saying at a meeting on poverty today that the nation’s “general target” was to ensure that its impoverished would by 2020 no longer need to worry about food and clothing.

Hu also said that the nation would reverse the widening gap between rich and poor, Xinhua reported.

--Editor: John Liu

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Sanderson in Beijing at hsanderson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shelley Smith at ssmith118@bloomberg.net


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