Common prosperity is different from ‘welfarism’: official
Published: Feb 17, 2022 08:44 PM
A view of a job fair for college students in an exhibition center in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province on October 10, 2021 Photo: cnsphoto

A view of a job fair for college students in an exhibition center in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province on October 10, 2021 Photo: cnsphoto

Common prosperity is not "lying flat," and Chinese people must avoid falling into the trap of "welfarism " raising lazy people, a government official said. 

"We must ensure and improve people's livelihoods on the basis of sustainable economic development and financial resources, and we must not be too ambitious, indulge our appetites or make promises that cannot be fulfilled," Ha Zengyou, an official of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a press conference on Thursday. 

"To achieve the goal of common prosperity, we must first make the cake bigger and better through joint efforts. Only with everyone's participation and efforts can we truly ensure that everyone can enjoy it," Ha said.

So-called "doing within our capabilities" means clearly seeing that there is still a big gap between China and the developed countries, the official said.

At the conference, the government's plan to develop East China's Zhejiang Province into a demonstration zone for common prosperity was explained, which China's central authorities in June of 2021 issued a guideline on it. 

By 2025, Zhejiang should achieve solid progress in building the demonstration zone, with its per capita GDP reaching the level of moderately developed economies, while a social structure with a middle-income population as the majority should be phased in, the guideline said.

In 2021, the per capita GDP of Zhejiang Province reached 113,000 yuan ($17,825), and the income of urban and rural residents ranked first among Chinese provincial regions for 21 and 37 years, respectively, according to official data. 

As for the targets for 2022, local officials said they will make efforts such as building a high-quality employment and entrepreneurship system, while continuing to optimize the environment for small and medium-sized enterprises' owners and individual businesses. 

College students who want to start businesses can get loans of 100,000-500,000 yuan. If the business fails, the government will compensate them for loans of less than 100,000 yuan, and compensate them for 80 percent of loans above 100,000 yuan, the officials said.

A key government meeting - the annual Central Economic Work Conference - in December mapped out China's economic priorities in 2022, saying that the country should create and accumulate social wealth continuously, and at the same time avoid polarization.

To realize common prosperity, China should first "make a bigger and better cake" through the joint efforts of the people, and then divide and distribute the cake properly through rational institutional arrangements, the conference then said.

For common prosperity, China aims to increase the size of middle-income groups and create an olive-shaped income pattern.

China's middle-income group has increased from over 100 million in 2010 to more than 400 million in 2019, accounting for about 30 percent of the total population, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Per capita disposable income rose from 19,109 yuan in 2010 to 32,000 yuan in 2020, surging 67.46 percent during the decade.

With the advancement of common prosperity, the number of middle-income earners is expected to grow, creating enormous demand for high-quality products and services and thus presenting business opportunities for companies from the rest of the world, xinhua said.

Global Times