China's poverty line reaches medium rank
Updated: 2011-12-06 06:50
BEIJING - China's new poverty standard has reached the medium rank in the middle-and-low income countries, according to Chen Shaohua, a World Bank economist who believes poor people will benefit more from the nation's economic boom.
Based on the Purchasing Power Parity level in 2005, China's new threshold defining poverty, or 2,300 yuan ($362) in terms of the annual net income of farmers, equals to $1.80 a day, said Chen, senior statistician in the Development Economics Research Group of the World Bank.
The Chinese authorities on November 29 announced the move, which represented an increase of over 80 percent from the 1,274-yuan standard in 2010.
That will make 128 million people eligible for government anti-poverty subsidies, or 13.4 percent of the registered rural population, according to Fan Xiaojian, head of the Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development under the State Council.
Chen estimated that the group of people who subsisted on less than $1.80 a day took up 12 percent to 15 percent of the total population of rural residents in 2008. The number could shrink further in 2010.
The evidence signified the central government would do more to serve poor people who would benefit more from China's economic growth, she said.
"It is the most exciting news during my more than 20-year career at the World Bank," she said.
Her comment was echoed by Wang Yan, also a senior economist with the World Bank.
"China has scored big progress in adjusting poverty line. It means China's policy will do more good for the poor who will get more financial support," she said.
At a meeting last week, senior Chinese leaders mapped out efforts to alleviate poverty in the country's rural areas over the next decade as the government tries to narrow a widening wealth gap.
The chief target is to provide adequate food and clothing for poverty-stricken people while ensuring their access to compulsory education, basic medical services and housing by 2020.
The country had reduced its poverty-stricken population in rural regions to 26.88 million at the end of 2010 from 94.22 million a decade ago, said a government white paper released in mid-November.