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China's leadership has decided to raise the poverty threshold to 2,300 yuan ($361) annual net income, a 92% increase from the standard set in 2009, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday. |
Under the new standard, announced at a national meeting on poverty alleviation held in Beijing, roughly 100 million rural residents will be recognized as officially poor and become eligible for antipoverty subsidies, Xinhua said. That makes up roughly 7.7% of China's population of about 1.3 billion people, though many more would fall below the poverty lines set by the United Nations.
China's definition of poverty has long been controversial, in particular because the government has often used its record of poverty reduction as a defense against critics of its human-rights record. China argues that access to basic human necessities like food, water and shelter are the most fundamental human rights and should therefore take precedence over others.
By setting the poverty threshold low, some analysts have said, China's leaders deliberately inflate their success in securing those rights for the nation's poor.
"Our country already has the world's second-largest GDP, so I think we should be using the international standard for the poverty line," commented one user of the popular Sina Weibo microblogging service writing under the handle Zizhu Choushui. "What is this 2,000-plus yuan figure based on?"
from wall street journal news reports
NOVEMBER 29, 2011