|Chinese President Hu Jintao speaks at a national poverty-alleviation meeting held by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)|
BEIJING, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- China announced on Tuesday a new standard for defining poverty as it aims to bridge the country's yawning wealth gap.
The central authorities have decided to raise the poverty threshold to 2,300 yuan (362 U.S. dollars) in terms of the annual net income of farmers, up over 80 percent from the 1,274 yuan standard in 2010.
The sharp increase brings China's poverty line closer to the international standard of 1.25 dollars a day, the standard that was established by the World Bank in 2008.
A government white paper on poverty reduction released earlier this month showed that the country reduced its poverty-stricken population in rural regions to 26.88 million by the end of 2010 from 94.22 million a decade ago.
The new poverty line will make 128 million people eligible for government anti-poverty subsidies, according to experts.
Speaking at a national poverty alleviation meeting held Tuesday at the Great Hall of the People, President Hu Jintao said that poverty reduction is a "significant and urgent task."
Hu called on all members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and society to concretely carry out poverty alleviation work with "greater resolve, intensified efforts, and more effective actions and measures" in order to achieve the country's target of building a comprehensively well-off society by 2020.
"The extraordinary achievements China has made in poverty alleviation have contributed to promoting economic development, political stability, ethnic unity, border security and social harmony, as well as the global anti-poverty drive," he said.
After more than 30 years of reform and opening-up, Hu said that China's poverty alleviation tasks concern more than just providing food and clothing for the poor. The country must also work to speed up poverty reduction, improve the environment, strengthen developmental capabilities and narrow the wealth gap, Hu said.