China, whereas people’s income level and standard of living are continually
improving, there is still a growing disparity between the financial circumstances
of different social members. The development of a range of social undertakings
is moving comparatively slowly, and various issues relating to the day-to-day
interests of the people, such as education, health care and housing, have not
been adequately taken care of.
large disparity of income is a serious issue in the social development of
China. According to relevant statistics, the income disparity between at the
richest people, who represent 10 percent of the total population, and the
poverty-stricken people, who make up 10 percent of the total population, is
more than 20 times. According to the World Bank, China’s Gini coefficient is
about 0.47, as against 0.4 recognized as the warning line internationally. The
Chinese government is taking a
series of measures to narrow the income gap.
The issue of
income disparity in China is manifested collectively in the following aspects:
first, the income disparity between urban and rural areas. In 2013 the net
per-capita income for urban residents in China was 26,955 Yuan while the net
per-capita income for rural inhabitants was 8,896 Yuan, resulting in a ratio of
urban to rural net per-capita income of 3.03:1. Secondly, there is the income
disparity between different regions. In 2012 Zhejiang Province had the highest
net per-capita income for urban residents (excepting municipalities directly
under the Central Government) of 34,550 Yuan, and Xinjiang the lowest, 17,157
Yuan; furthermore, Zhejiang Province also had the highest net per-capita income
for rural residents, 14,552 Yuan, while Gansu Province had the lowest, 4,495
Yuan. Lastly, there is the income disparity between different sectors. In 2012
the service sector, with the highest income, had an average payment of
while the sectors with the lowest income (agriculture, forestry, animal
husbandry and fishery) had an average payment of 22,687 Yuan, a ratio of 3.96:1.
in social development is caused by the imbalance in economic development,
itself mainly manifested in the imbalance of economic development between urban
and rural areas (between industry and agriculture). Agriculture in China is
mainly in rural areas while industry is mainly in cities and the development
imbalance between urban and rural areas can be seen in the imbalance between
industry and agriculture. The issue of agriculture, rural areas and peasants is
the most problematic in the economic and social development of modern China.
When closely analyzed, the situation with regard to agriculture, rural areas
and peasants is the result of a dualistic economic structure with the long-term
separation between urban and rural areas in China, manifested in the
contradiction between a superabundant rural population and the limited and
continuously decreasing agricultural production materials such as suitable
farming land. At present, agricultural workers account for 46 percent of the
total population in China; the number of people involved in the primary industry
(agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery) is 260 million, or 33.6
percent of the total number of employees – however, their production yield accounts
for 10.1 percent of the GDP.
in economic development is also manifested in the imbalance between different
regions. In 2012 the per-capita GDP for west China was 31,357 Yuan, that for
east China 57,722 Yuan, the ratio between west and east being 1: 1.84.
In 2010, China
issued a the National Program for Medium- and Long- Term Education Reform and
Development (2010–2020), which calls for efforts for China to seek further development
in education and cultivation of talents, achieving modernization in education
by the year 2020. According to the Program, more funding will be allocated for
educational development purpose.
The sum was
2,116.5 billion Yuan in 2012, or 4.1 percent of the 2012 GDP. Although China
has narrowed the gap with developed countries in this regard, some problems
remain: Case in point is the imbalance in educational resources between urban
and rural areas, between east and west China, and even between different
schools. Children from poverty-stricken families and children of migrant
workers still have poor access to better education.
surrounding medical treatment and health care are most prominently manifested
in the unreasonable allocation of health care resources. Across the country, 80
percent of the health care resources are concentrated in cities; whereas
high-quality medical treatment and health care resources are excessively
concentrated in big city hospitals, there is a concomitant shortage of
community health care service resources, and the service system of “giving priority
to prevention” and reasonable access to a doctor have not come into being. In
rural areas there is a shortage of medical treatment and health care resources.
In addition, China’s health investment is insufficient, accounting for 5.15
percent of the GDP in 2011, a figure which is higher than India (4.2 percent),
close to Russia (5.6 percent), and far less than other BRICS countries including
Brazil (8.8 percent) and South Africa (9.2 percent).
capita GDP has exceeded US$ 6,000, which means China approaches the average
level of medium-income countries in the world. This is fact that China has gone
from the transformation period to a new historical period featuring high
income. It is historical fact, having reached the level of US$ 6,000 per capita
GDP, some countries declined and some others continued to move forward. Given
this, China needs to find a new way of development.
Decision of the CPC Central Committee on Some Major Issues Concerning
Comprehensively Deepening the Reform adopted at the
Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee held in November
2013 stipulates in explicit terms: “We will regulate income distribution
procedures and improve the regulatory systems and mechanisms and policy
system for income distribution, establish an individual income and
property information system, protect legitimate incomes, regulate
excessively high incomes, redefine and clear away hidden incomes, outlaw
illegal incomes, increase the incomes of low-income groups, and increase
the proportion of the middle-income group in society as a whole. We will
strive to narrow the income gap between urban and rural areas, different
regions and different sectors, thus gradually forming an olive-shaped
distribution structure in the country.” Generally speaking, when the
proportion of middle-income group reaches 40–50 percent, it indicates that a
society has formed an “olive” structure, with the majority of people enjoying
middle income and the lower and high income earners forming the minority.
At present, the proportion of medium income group in China makes up
about 25 percent of the population. The Chinese society will have to
wait to form an “olive” structure. This period is full of opportunities
Between Economic Development and Resources Environment
China is vast
in size. However, 52 percent of its land area belong to arid or semi-arid
areas. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, highly cold and scarce in oxygen, covers an
area of 2.4 million square km; the Loess Plateau, which suffers serious soil
erosion, covers an area of 640,000 square km. In addition, Rocky desertification
covers an area of 900,000 square km. China today boasts 122 million hectares of
cultivated land, averaging less than 0.1 hectare per capita, a figure which is
half of the world average level. Moreover, 70 percent of the cultivated land in
China fall into the category of medium- or low-yield ones. Land exerts a heavy
pressure on China with 1.36 billion mouths to feed.
The economy in
China is growing very fast, but the extensive economic growth with high
investment, high levels of energy consumption, high materials consumption, high
pollution and large requisition of land has not fundamentally changed. In
particular, China is currently at a time of accelerated development in both
industrialization and urbanization, and due to a comparatively high consumption
of energy and various resources and a heavy emission of pollutants, the
conflict between economic development and the conservation of natural resources
is becoming ever more prominent.
the added value of tertiary industry as a proportion of GDP is 46.1 percent,
higher than the secondary industry (43.9 percent). This compares sharply with
the added value of the tertiary industry in developed countries (70 percent).
China has overtaken the United States and Russia to become the world’s number
one energy producer and consumer. In 2013, China’s primary energy production
was 3.4 billion tons of standard coal while its energy consumption reached 3.75
billion tons of standard coal. Moreover, China is irrational in consumption
pattern largely because it is the most populous country suffering from shortage
China also has
relatively low energy resources. At present the per-capita petroleum resource
is 17.1 percent of the world average, the per-capita natural gas resource even
less, at 13.2 percent. Coal represents a major part of China’s natural resources,
but per-capita is only 42.5 percent of the world average.
In China there
is a wide but imbalanced distribution of energy resources. Coal is mainly found
in north and northwestern China, hydraulic resources are principally
distributed in the southwestern regions, and petroleum and natural gas are
mostly concentrated in the eastern, central and western regions as well as
under territorial waters. The major regions with regard to energy consumption are
concentrated in the southeastern coastal areas which have the more developed economy.
The large-scale and far-distant transportation of coal from north to south, of
petroleum from north to south, of natural gas from west to east and of electricity
from west to east represents the distinctive and basic structure of the flow of
China’s energy transportation.
The demand for
resources in China has grown fast. In the 1990s petroleum consumption increased
at an average annual growth of 7.2 percent; that of natural gas increased at an
average annual growth of 9.3 percent; that of steel increased at an annual
average growth of 9.3 percent; and that of copper increased at an annual
average growth of 11.2 percent. Recent yeasrs saw China make efforts to take
controlling fast energy consumption growth as a major goal, with the result that
energy consumed in 2012 and 2013 grew by only 3.9 percent and 3.7 percent respectively.
energy technology, China has made great progress, but compared to the demands
for development and the advances that have been made at international level,
there is still a significant gap. The development of new technology in such
fields as recyclable energy, clean energy and alternative energy is
comparatively fast and the application of such technology as energy saving,
consumption-reduction and pollution treatment is not nearly so wide as it might
be. In 2010, China’s energy consumption per-unit GDP stayed 2.2 fold when
compared to the world level, and was higher than developed countries including
the United States, Japan and Europe.
economy results in low efficiency and output. The labor productivity in China
is obviously lower than that of western developed countries. Recent years saw
fast growth of labor productivity, with the 2010 labor productivity doubling
that in 1990, which, however, was still half of that of OECD, and even less
than Latin American countries. According to the report by the Chinese Academy
of Sciences, China’s labor productivity is only equivalent to 1/12 of the
United States and 1/11 of Japan.
pollution we are currently witnessing is the result of an extensive development
of the Chinese economy. Although China has adopted a variety of measures so
that emissions of major pollutants has decreased year by year, but the
emissions remain to be a serious problem plaguing China today. In 2012, the
national wastewater COD emissions were 24.237 million tons, and thesulfur
dioxide emissions in exhaust gas were 21.176 million tons.