China’s weak economy and draconian anti-pandemic measures have affected the incomes of many classes of Chinese people.
According to the South China Morning Post, the Director of the Department of Social Assistance at the Ministry of Civil Affairs said that 6 million low-income Chinese are at risk of falling back into poverty.
Zhang Chuan, 45, left Anhui province in 2001 and worked as a vegetable carrier in Northeast China. After eight years, he settled in Shenzhen and started an electrical appliance business.
He said before the outbreak of COVID, that his monthly income could be up to 10,000 yuan (nearly $1500). But now, he has almost no income at all.
The South China Morning Post reported after the pandemic outbreak, the wages of low-income people fell by 8%, while the wages of the middle and high-income groups fell by less than 4%.
Wages for middle- and high-wage workers then rose again, but wages for low-wage workers remained unchanged.
Zou Jingxian, a professor at the Renmin University of China, said that “The pandemic has severely interrupted the incremental improvement in rural income distribution we’ve seen since 2016.”
Ding Shi Song, a 50-year-old steelworker, felt the economic downturn deeply.
He said, “There was less work after the pandemic, and I have struggled to find any jobs. Some new construction sites were closed, and the steel couldn’t be brought in due to the lockdowns.”