China increases rural poverty limit to $1 a day

Farmer carrying water in Yingtan, Jiangxi province China has been criticised for setting the poverty line too low

China has redefined the level at which people in rural areas are considered poor to include everyone earning less than $1 a day (6.5 yuan).

Previously people in the countryside were only regarded as poor if they earned less than 55 cents a day.

The move should see millions more people get access to state benefits.

Some 27 million people were classified as rural poor last year. The new threshold is expected to increase that number fourfold.

Chinese President Hu Jintao has made tackling rural poverty a cornerstone of his leadership.

He has rolled out large-scale development projects across China's poverty-stricken western provinces, in a bid to create what he calls a "harmonious society".

On Tuesday, state media quoted him as saying that by 2020 no-one in China would need to worry about food and clothing.

"Their access to compulsory education, basic medical care and housing will also be ensured," he said.

"The current trend of a widening rich-poor gap will be reversed."

Many of Mr Hu's plans have target dates set far in the future, which analysts say represent an attempt to build a legacy.

He is expected to step down from his leadership roles in the next two years.

China has been widely criticised for setting the poverty line too low.

But the latest move puts Beijing much closer to the World Bank's threshold of $1.25 a day.

Those newly classified as poor will be entitled to government help such as subsidies, job training, discounted loans and employment opportunities at government-funded rural infrastructure projects.

Graph showing income in China

More on This Story

Changing China

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More China stories

RSS

Features

  • Alana Saarinen at pianoMum, Dad and Mum

    The girl with three biological parents


  • Polish and British flags alongside British roadsideWar debt

    Does the UK still feel a sense of obligation towards Poles?


  • Islamic State fighters parade in Raqqa, Syria (30 June 2014)Who backs IS?

    Where Islamic State finds support to become a formidable force


  • Bride and groom-to-be photographed underwaterWetted bliss

    Chinese couples told to smile, but please hold your breath


  • A ship is dismantled for scrap in the port city of Chittagong, BangladeshDangerous work

    Bangladesh's ship breakers face economic challenge


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.