Academic journal article Asian Development Review

Preface

Academic journal article Asian Development Review

Preface

Article excerpt

The economy of the People's Republic of China (PRC) has been growing at close to 10 percent annually since it embarked on a reform program in 1978. This rapid growth has led to a dramatic reduction in the incidence of poverty. However, growth has been accompanied by widening income gaps, in particular between rural and urban areas and across regions, and, in more recent years, by rising nonincome inequalities such as in the access to basic medical services and health care.

Rising inequality is an emerging development challenge not only for the PRC. In the last two decades, many developing Asian countries experienced worsening income distribution. Growth and poverty reduction have been the central focus of development policy making in the past in developing Asia. More recently, as inequalities continue to rise, discussions on development policy are increasingly paying attention to the issues of equity and how to make growth more inclusive. The concept of inclusive growth is increasingly being embraced by developing countries in Asia and their development partners.

Recognizing that rising inequalities could have serious negative social and economic consequences, the PRC government has in recent years started to take measures to address inequalities. In 2006, it declared the creation of a "harmonious society", a concept very closely related to inclusive growth, as the basic development goal in the 11th Five-Year Plan. …

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