Poor

Chinese national flags on display in a public housing block in Wong Tai Sin district to mark National Day in Hong Kong, China, on 1 October 2021. (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

Mainland and HK officials step up visits to the grassroots: Hope for lower-income Hong Kongers?

The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or LOCPG has been busy engaging with Hong Kongers at the grassroots level, in order to connect with the ground. Officials of the Hong Kong government and the pro-Beijing camp have followed suit. Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing speaks to ordinary Hong Kongers and academics to get a sense of whether this strategy will help to further the Chinese Communist Party’s people-centred governance ideal in Hong Kong society.
This aerial photo taken on 7 September 2021 shows a view of cars at Lianyungang Port in Lianyungang in China's eastern Jiangsu province. (STR/AFP)

Chinese academic: Less exports, more wealth redistribution needed in China

China’s imports and exports of goods totalled 18 trillion RMB in the first half of this year, 27% higher than the same period last year. However, instead of rejoicing over soaring numbers, Chinese academic Peng Shengyu warns that huge exports also point to a great loss of domestically created material wealth flowing overseas. He says by unreservedly supplying China-made goods to the US who has the power to print money in abandon, and leaving wealth accumulation in the hands of individuals, the Chinese government has not done enough to improve the lives of its people, especially the poor.
A commuter rides his bicycle through an older neighborhood in Shanghai, China, on 30 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Every individual counts: China should go for ‘common development’ rather than ‘common prosperity’

Rather than wealth redistribution per se, the deeper issue lies in achieving social justice and equal opportunities for all. Going by the US example, it might not be wise or even feasible to curtail the riches of the wealthy or to straitjacket their business environment. Instead, they and other members of the community can be encouraged to help bring about equitable access to education and a better life.
Vendors sell vegetables at a stall in an older neighborhood in Shanghai, China, on 30 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China's internet giants are shelling out money for 'common prosperity'. But is that enough?

Heightened gestures of corporate social responsibility and outright donations from major companies have been declared since the Chinese government’s recent push for “common prosperity”. Are these simply knee-jerk reactions to the government’s stance? Can companies be encouraged to be more socially responsible in the long term? China is all abuzz with talk on ways to achieve common prosperity.
Two men have their breakfast on the street in an older neighborhood in Shanghai, China on 30 August 2021. Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired a high-level meeting that “reviewed and approved” measures to fight monopolies, battle pollution and shore up strategic reserves, all areas that are crucial to his government’s push to improve the quality of life for the nation’s 1.4 billion people. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Can China succeed in income distribution reform and get rid of its celebrity economy?

The assets of the top eight tycoons in the world have a combined worth of half the global population, says EAI academic Lance Gore, and the Chinese Communist Party faces a choice: Will China go down the old path of Western advanced capitalism, especially Anglo-American capitalism, and make the same mistakes as them? China has shown resolve in reforming its income distribution issues in various sectors including the entertainment industry. But it is not an easy path as vested interests may still interfere and the people can only rely on the self-purification of the Chinese Communist Party to uphold the regime’s people-centred nature.
Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk down Nanjing East Road in Shanghai, China on 14 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Why China is embarking on the journey of 'common prosperity'

China has set itself the goal of achieving "common prosperity" in the coming years, after realising its goal of "building a moderately prosperous society in all respects". Chinese academic Luo Zhiheng describes this ideal society which is the opposite of a society plagued by a serious wealth gap — people should look forward to improving their quality of life and not worry about their basic needs; social safety nets should also provide basic livelihood protection for the disadvantaged groups. He outlines how China can realise this ideal by harnessing the strength of all who are able and who have "gotten rich first" during the reform and opening up process.
A general view shows residential buildings in Hong Kong on 21 August 2021 (Bertha Wang/AFP)

Can Hong Kong get rid of its atrocious subdivided flats anytime soon?

Hong Kongers face the perennial problem of housing shortage and high property prices. Some have no choice but to rent subdivided flats — residential flats further partitioned into smaller units — which are still not quite affordable and are rarely well maintained. Residents report physical and mental health issues, but amid land scarcity and a lack of supply, will they just have to keep making do?
China's Quan Hongchan is congratulated by a coach after winning the women's 10m platform diving finals event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan on 5 August 2021. (Oli Scarff/AFP)

China's diving sensation Quan Hongchan: Is her rural family 'poor'?

Reflecting on the background of Chinese diving Olympic champion Quan Hongchan, David Ng makes some observations about the urban-rural divide in China. He notes that after years of China’s rapid development, rural folk are still playing catch up economically, but they have not ruled themselves out of achieving success. Their own motivation will get them far, sometimes even as far as achieving Olympic glory.
People wearing face masks are seen on an overpass in front of a residential building in Beijing, China, 11 August  2020. (Tingshu Wang/File Photo/Reuters)

Why China is regulating the property market

Rapid real estate and infrastructure development in China over the past two to three decades has improved people’s lives, but also led to rising housing prices and property speculation. Regional governments have started to step in with regulatory measures. Commentator David Ng thinks these are good signs, as a society’s wealth should be distributed by labour and contribution instead of through housing.