Welfare home distribution

Updated: 2012-02-09 10:43

(China Daily)

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Vice-Premier Li Keqiang's emphasis on the fair distribution of affordable housing on Monday points to the weak link that will have a bearing on the fulfillment of the government's goal of providing low-income residents with decent homes.

Given the reports of frequent instances of people cheating to obtaining various types of welfare accommodation, it is necessary to set up and gradually optimize a transparent and efficient plan to review applications for such houses, and effectively remove those applicants whose incomes raise them above the threshold for receiving such welfare.

The central government has implemented strict policies to make sure that local governments make real efforts to construct affordable housing. In 2011, construction started on 10 million units of affordable housing nationwide and the number of units built this year will be at least 7 million.

The message is that the government attaches great importance to the role such welfare plays in redistributing social wealth in a fair and just manner. Such welfare is also expected to contribute to social and political stability, which China badly needs for further economic growth and social progress.

This explains why Li said that the fair distribution of such welfare housing is the lifeline for sustainable development. Li also said that those found cheating to obtain such housing should be made to pay dearly for their cheating.

Frankly speaking, it is not easy for ordinary residents to cheat on such matters. Cheating is often combined with abuse of power or the malpractices of the rich or advantaged. In the scandals exposed in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, some living in affordable or low-rent homes also owned luxury cars or luxurious houses.

Making the entire process of affordable housing distribution transparent would be the most effective way of preventing cheating and under-the-table deals. The vice-premier stressed that the distribution should be placed under the supervision of the public and the media.

It is much harder to achieve the fair distribution of welfare housing than it is to build them. It tests the governing capability of both the central and local governments. It is something that the government must do well or it will tarnish its reputation and affect the stability of this country.

With the central government's resolve, there is reason to believe that most local governments have the experience and will to do a good job.