China’s Wealth Gap Threatens Social Stability, Researcher Says

China’s growing wealth inequality may severely damage social stability, a researcher with the ruling Communist Party said.

Tax evasion, fraud and corruption are among the reasons for the widening wealth gap, Xie Chuntao, an academic with the ruling Communist Party, said at a briefing today.

“Recently, we see more government efforts, such as the state-owned enterprise reforms, including executive salary cuts and tighter control over civil servants’ income and welfare,” said Xie. “I believe the problem will be gradually eased.”

The gap between China’s rich and poor is now among the widest in the world, surpassing that of the U.S., researchers at the University of Michigan said in April.

The nation’s Gini co-efficient, a measure for income inequality in which a reading of zero means all income is evenly distributed and 1 represents complete concentration, had increased to 0.55 in 2010 from 0.3 in 1980, according to the researchers. That compared with a reading of 0.45 for the U.S. in 2010.

— With assistance by Liza Lin, and Yuling Yang

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