People's Daily Online
The United Nations Development Program published its "China Human Development Report 2005" Friday in Beijing, calling on the Chinese government to fight social inequality.
China's wealth gap between urban and rural communities is among the highest in the world, but the government is coming to the grips with the widening disparities that threaten the country's stability, according to the report.
China has succeeded in lifting 250 million people out of poverty over the past 25 years. However, during the same period income inequality has doubled. A person living in a city earns on average 1,000 US dollars a year, compared to just over 300 US dollars in the countryside.
"The Chinese government has realized the grave consequences of social inequality, and has started to tackle the problem head-on," said Khalid Malik, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator, who spoke at the launching ceremony of the report.
"This report is particularly timely as the government is shaping its new economic blueprint to ease the strains of inequality. There is no question that more can be done to mind the gap that so often triggers social unrest when economic growth on a national scale leaves the poor and the disadvantaged behind," the UN official said.
This report, the fourth "China Human Development Report", is the first written by a team of Chinese experts organized and coordinated by the China Development Research Foundation.
China has registered some of the most rapid advances in human development in history. Its Human Development Index Ranking now ranks the 85th, compared with the 94th in 2004 and the 105th in 1990, according to the "2005 Human Development Report" published in September by the UNDP.
Both the global and national reports by the UNDP recognize China's massive achievements in poverty-relief in the past 30 years, saying that if China's achievements were not recorded, the world would have actually regressed in its progress towards poverty alleviation.
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