The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) recently issued a report claiming that the size of China’s middle class stands at a quarter of the population and is growing at the rate of one percent per year.
Cheng Xiaonong, a U.S. based China expert, commented that “The concept of ‘middle class’ is borrowed from the West. There is a serious problem with using it in China. … The government willfully categorizes some people as middle class, which then becomes a banner for the government to tout its achievements. Government think tanks such as CASS then begin to dance with the government, using a variety of statistical indicators to put people into the bucket of the so-called middle class. If you look at public opinion, most Chinese people do not consider themselves to be middle class.”
Source: Radio Free Asia, March 26, 2011