China’s Widening Income Gap – Dexter Roberts
Business Week reports on growing public concern in China over the widening wealth gap:
The inequality problem is only getting worse. The top 10% of urban Chinese earn 9.2 times as much as the bottom tenth, up from 8.9 times the previous year. In rural China, the multiple was 7.3, compared with 6.9 one year before. China is facing an “alarming” situation, said Labor & Social Security Ministry official Su Hainan, according to a Feb. 2 report by official news agency Xinhua.
In response, policy makers and citizens are debating a host of new laws intended to strengthen the rights of workers, including regulations on social security and labor disputes, and an employment promotion law. All of these will be discussed at the Congress that starts on Mar. 5, and then will likely be enacted throughout the rest of this year. A key employment-contract law likely to pass in May elicited more than 190,000 comments from individuals, institutes, and companies, including foreign employers eager to influence its final form. [Full text]