In July, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) said that China had reached a “moderately rich society” and had eradicated “absolute poverty.” But that was sharply contrasted by recent data.

The China Statistical Yearbook 2021 of the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that about 20% of all Chinese households have a monthly disposable income of only 656 yuan ( about US$103). That proportion represents about 280 million people.

The income rates reported by the Hurun Research Institute on February 8 were not any more positive. According to the report, last year, the number of Chinese people with a monthly per capita income below 500 yuan (about US$80) was increasing rapidly. Already, that figure exceeded 220 million people in China in 2020.

Another report by Tencent News repeated a similar figure, stating that China was having at least 220 million people earning less than 500 yuan, or about US$80, monthly. That data was sourced from China’s first joint-venture investment bank, the China International Capital Corporation’s research paper.

It also corresponds to Premier Li Keqiang’s comments last year at a press conference that “China has 600 million individuals with a monthly income of less than 1,000 yuan (about US$150).”

Then, in 2019, China’s National Bureau of Statistics data reported its absolute poverty threshold was around 35% lower than the International Poverty Line of US$693.50 per year after inflation.

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