The CCP mouthpiece Xinhua reported on 19TH December that the party head “Xi Jinping has sent a letter of congratulations to the International Forum on Sharing Poverty Reduction Experience, which opened Monday in Beijing”.
In this letter, Xi claims that after 8 years of persistent effort, the CCP has lifted all the rural people living under China’s existent poverty line (which was RMB3747 a year, or roughly USD1.57 a day at the current exchange rate, in 2019) out of poverty and rid all the impoverished counties of their poverty labels, thus reducing the rural impoverished population by nearly 100 million and making tremendous contributions to the global poverty reduction cause.
However, even if we accept the CCP’s statistics at face value, there are quite a few questions we need to ask Xi about what underlies his rodomontade.
For starters, according to the 2019 National Economic and Social Development Statistical Bulletin (the “2019SB”) issued by China’s National Bureau of Statistics (“NBS”), the RURAL impoverished population with an annual income of less than RMB3747 at the end of 2019 was 5.51 million. However, the rural population accounted for only 39.4% of the total population. Can the NBS tell us the number of urban impoverished people in China? Besides, we all know that the international poverty line is USD1.9 a day, or roughly RMB4600 a year. If this standard is applied, what is the total impoverished population in China?
In addition, according to the 2019SB, with the population evenly divided to 5 segments, the lowest income segment of population, roughly 280 million, had an annual disposable income of RMB7380 ON AVERAGE. If we believe the government statistics of merely 5.51 million impoverished people with an annual income of RMB1874 on average, 98% of those in the lowest income segment, or 274.49 million people, must earn RMB7490 a year. Can we imagine such a radical distribution in this segment of population?
Do you still remember what Premier Li Keqiang said after the Two Sessions that stirred up an uproar on the Chinese social media? He said 600 million people in China have a monthly salary of around RMB1000. According to Caixin, Fu Linghui, the spokesman of the NBS, corroborated his statement with the data published in the China Statistical Yearbook, which show that the lowest and lower income segments of the population, totally 40% of the population or 610 million people, have a meagre income of less than RMB1000, equivalent to USD152. Is that something worth bragging about? For the second largest economy in the world boasting a GDP of USD14.14 trillion in 2019? After more than 40 years of opening up and reform?
Finally, even the Chinese government cannot deny that 2020 is the worst year in the past 30 years in terms of economic development under the impact of the CCP virus. The whole country was locked down for two months, with quite a few cities still under lockdown allegedly due to sporadic imported cases; a number foreign companies closed their factories in China; many small- and medium-sized businesses went under or struggled in despair; large state-owned corporations defaulted one after another on their debts; more than 20 provinces suffered floods, drought, and plagues of pests, with which hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people lost their crops, houses, and even everything they ever had. Plague, lockdown, infection, death, disasters, depression, unemployment – any ominous words you can think of may be depictive of a major aspect of the year. How can the CCP accomplished in such an unblessed year something they had never been able to do in the past 40 years of fascinating economic growth? We only know that with this great triumph, they don’t need to dole out the paltry poverty allowance to the destitute and can save hundreds of millions for their ever-demanding stability maintenance expenditure.
Alas, I simply can’t image any chimeric pachyderm as brazen as the glorious CCP leader Xi Jinping.