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China Expands Identification and Monitoring of Low-Income Population to Promote Stability

There are at least 66 million low-income people living in China. Concerned about social stability, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs recently ordered local governments to strengthen the identification and monitoring of low-income populations. The order’s aim is to better play the role of social assistance in “ensuring basics, preventing risks, and promoting development”, weaving a tighter safety net for people’s livelihoods and helping them out of poverty.

Chinese authorities are calling for poverty alleviation to stabilize society. In October 2023, the Ministry of Civil Affairs stated that the national dynamic monitoring information platform for low-income populations had collected basic information on over 66 million low-income people, about 4.7% of the total population. This includes nearly 40 million people receiving minimum living allowances, over 4.6 million living in extreme poverty, and over 6 million members of households that are just above the poverty line.

According to Chinese media reports, the Ministry of Civil Affairs recently issued a notice identifying low-income groups. Households with per capita incomes below 1.5 times the local minimum living standard and assets meeting local regulations are classified as being at the minimum living standard boundary. Households with per capita incomes below the previous year’s local disposable income level, assets meeting regulations, and necessary expenditures like medical and education exceeding a certain proportion of total income are classified as having difficulty with rigid expenditures.

The new order from the Ministry of Civil Affairs requires localities to comprehensively identify minimum living standard boundary households and rigid expenditure difficulty households, in addition to identifying recipients of minimum living allowances and those living in extremely poverty.

On strengthening the monitoring of low-income populations, the goal of “risk prevention” requires gradually expanding the scope of monitoring efforts to include other “difficult people” identified by local governments and other potential low-income groups, incorporating them, too, into the dynamic monitoring platform with stratified management.

The government stressed the importance of making the public aware of how monitoring helps prevent risks and alleviate difficulties. “It aims to leverage grassroots party organizations to guide employable low-income people towards self-reliance, employment assistance, and industrial aid to escape poverty.”

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), May 5, 2024