On July 1, Xi Jinping, head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), declared that China had achieved a moderately prosperous society. At the same time, the Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission also stated that China’s per capita GDP had exceeded $10,000. However, these statements were very different from those of the CCP Premier Li Keqiang last year.
On July 1, Xi declared that China had achieved a “moderately prosperous society.” What is a “moderately prosperous society?” A moderately prosperous society is the “ideal state of societal living conditions,” according to China’s Baidu Encyclopedia. “It is not only about solving the problem of food and clothing but also meeting the needs of urban and rural development in aspects of politics, economy, culture, society, and ecology.”
According to Li, a year ago, nearly half of the people in China had not solved their food and clothing needs. On May 28, 2020, Li said in response to a reporter’s question at a press conference in the National People’s Congress, “Our annual disposable income per capita is 30,000 yuan (about $4,637), but there are 600 million people who earn a monthly income of only 1,000 yuan (about $155). It is already difficult to rent a house in a medium-sized city for 1,000 yuan (about $155), let alone during a pandemic.”
Five days later, Wan Haiyuan and Meng Fanqiang, researchers of the China Income Distribution Research Institute of Beijing Normal University, published an article on China’s Caixin, a news publishing website, that further confirmed Li’s statement.
The article said, “The number mentioned by the Premier is closest to the reality. Although many groups have entered the high-income class, the low and middle-income class groups still remain dominant. A considerable amount of groups are still hovering near the survival line. They are out of our sight, have no channels to speak out, and society cannot hear their voices. They are the silent majority.”
The research team of the China Income Distribution Research Institute of Beijing Normal University used stratified, linear, and random sampling methods to analyze 70,000 data points. The results show that in 2019, 216 million people in China had monthly incomes of less than 500 yuan (about $77), accounting for 15.8 percent of the population; 600 million people (including the previously-mentioned 216 million people) had monthly incomes of less than 1090 yuan (about $168), accounting for 42.9 percent of the population.
The article indicates that the monthly income figures are household disposable income per capita: income that can be used after deducting personal income tax, private transfer payments, and various social insurances.
Radio France suggests that Li’s words “pierced a giant and gorgeous bubble of [CCP] lies,” they were like “dropping a nuclear bomb, and the shock wave still remains.”