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Poverty Line to Be Raised to International Standard

China plans to raise its present poverty line to be on par with the international standard of US$1 per day as a move to further help the country's poor and improve their general quality of life.

The Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development (LGOP) of State Council has drafted a plan to reset the annual poverty line at 1,300 yuan (US$185) from its previous amount of 1,067 yuan in 2007, according to an article on Saturday in the weekly newspaper Economic Observer. The office is now soliciting opinions from its member units, the report said.

If the State Council approves the draft, another 40 million people would be categorized as poor, bringing the country's total poverty-stricken population to 80 million. In this regard, more people would be able to benefit from China's economic boom, the report said.

China set its poverty line at 200 yuan in 1985. The figure has kept growing along with increases in the consumer price index during the past years. This year, the government set the poverty line based on an annual average income of 786-1,067 yuan, with the abject poverty line at 785 yuan or below.

But this poverty line is quite low compared with the international standard of per capita income of US$1 per day. Changing the country's poverty line has been a pressing task for and a priority of the country's poverty alleviation work this year.

According to the latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, there were 43 million rural residents living in poverty, with about 15 million in abject poverty, at the end of 2007, the report said.

(Xinhua News Agency April 14, 2008)

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