The Chinese government recently released data on income distribution within the Chinese populace. One data point said that 964 million people in China have monthly income less than 2,000 Yuan (US $282). This statistic sparked hot discussion on the internet. The news followed a statement in 2020 by Li Keqiang, China’s former premier, that about 600 million Chinese people have monthly income less than 1,000 Yuan (US $141). The data were gathered by the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission’s Department of Employment, Income Distribution and Consumption as well as the China Institute of Income Distribution at Beijing Normal University.
All the major mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) remained silent on this topic, as the data makes the CCP look bad. NetEase, a major internet portal in China, published an article to “clarify the issue,” i.e. to make the picture look less dismal. It stated that the statistic regarding 964 million people’s income did not pertain to their monthly income but rather to their per-capita monthly disposable income. Per-capita figures are averaged across a larger number of people, including those who are not active in the workforce (the actual number of working people in China is reportedly less than 900 million).
Editor’s Note: Even if the clarification published by NetEase is correct, a per-capita disposable income of less than $282 per month still means that these 964 million people, the majority of the Chinese populace, are near the poverty level struggling to make ends meet.
Source: NetEase, December 30, 2023