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China breaks long silence on inequality statistic

Published on Jan 18, 2013 4:46 PM

BEIJING (AFP) - China released a decade's-worth of information on a key inequality statistic today after keeping the measure a secret since 2000, as the issue becomes increasingly sensitive.

The Gini coefficient is a commonly used measure of income inequality, with a figure of 0 representing perfect equality and 1 total inequality. Some academics view 0.40 as a warning line.

China's peaked at 0.491 in 2008 before falling in recent years to 0.474 in 2012, Mr Ma Jiantang, chief of the National Bureau of Statistics, told reporters as he announced readings for the decade from 2003.

The figures "showed the income gap is rather big", he said at a press conference on the country's economic growth.

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