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China building well-off society in all-round way
2004/04/19

The report delivered by Jiang Zemin to the 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has clearly put forward the objective of building a well-off society in an all-round way in China.

The term "well-off society", which means a society in which all people lead a fairly comfortable life, was first used by late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, who was reputed as the "chief architect" of China's reform and opening up drive.

"Our goal is to build a well-off society by the year 2000," Deng had said when reform and opening up was launched in the late 1970s.

However, on its way to a well-off society, the world's most populous nation first had to help all its people to shake off poverty and get adequately fed and decently dressed. It took abouttwo decades for China to achieve this preliminary success.

Starting from the late 1980s, the CPC and the Chinese government have worked hard for the historic leap in people's life from being adequately fed and dressed to being well-off. Thanks tothe fast-paced advancement of reform and opening up and a sustained rapid economic growth, this goal was basically attained at the end of the last century.

The United Nations has applied the Engel Coefficient, which indicates the proportion of food expenditure in total consumption,as a major index for judging living standards of people of variousnations. Normally a society can be labeled as "well-off" if its Engel Coefficient is between 40 and 50 percent.

In 1998, China's Engel Coefficient was 44.5 percent in towns and cities and 53.4 percent in rural areas, very close to the UN standard for "being well-off".

Nevertheless, Jiang's report to the Party Congress pointed out that the Chinese people's well-off life is "still at a low level","not all-inclusive" and "very uneven". "We need to work hard over a long period of time to consolidate and uplift our current well-off standard of living", according to the report. Enditem

Xinhuanet 2002-11-09

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