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China to prioritize addressing relative poverty

Author  :  Zhang Jie and Zhang Yixin     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2020-05-15

According to the No.1 Central Document released in February, poverty reduction work should make it a new norm to focus on addressing relative poverty.

The country should establish long-term mechanisms and strengthen top-level design to better tackle relative poverty, according to the document.

The essence of relative poverty is whether the income distribution is equal, said Wang Dehua, a research fellow from the National Academy of Economic Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Countries around the world generally define the relative poverty line relative to the average or median income. Our country can take this as reference.

The major task of alleviating relative poverty is to narrow the income gap and unequal access to public services, thus requiring long-term mechanisms, said Li Xiaoyun, a professor from the College of Humanities and Development Studies at China Agricultural University. It is key to clarify a security system for lowincome people through a series of economic and social development policies and strategies.

Li Guoxiang, a research fellow at the Rural Development Institute at CASS, said that people with low income form the major part of those experiencing relative poverty. Different from the overall poverty in remote rural areas, cities have a significant amount of relative poverty.

When tackling relative poverty, we should pay special attention to people who slip back into poverty due to illness and who fall into poverty due to unemployment, unequal access to opportunities or particular difficulties, adopting corresponding measures.

The income gap between urban and rural areas requires a comprehensive understanding, said Lin Jian, a research fellow from the National Academy of Development and Strategy at Renmin University of China. We should gradually narrow the income gap and the gap in terms of access to infrastructure and basic public services. It is necessary to launch taxation policies suited to our national situation in order to benefit people in relative and absolute poverty and to narrow the wealth gap.

In Wang’s view, once the poverty line is defined, it is necessary to share big data among tax collection and management departments and stick to existing effective income screening practices. In addition, it is necessary to designate policies to encourage the impoverished.

Wang suggested focusing on developing human capital and creating jobs supplemented by special income support projects. Welfare projects, such as childhood education and child nutrition, should give more preference to those in relative poverty. We should also provide some income support for those trapped in poverty due to health reasons.












Editor: Li Yujie

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