China's President Xi Jinping gets 62 per cent pay rise, to $2,440 per month: Report

BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese President Xi Jinping and the other six members of the Communist Party's elite Politburo Standing Committee have been given 62 per cent pay rises, the state-run media said on Tuesday, as civil servants get their first increases since 2006.

Mr Xi's basic monthly pay will go up to 11,385 yuan (S$2,440) from 7,020 yuan, the China Daily said, citing announcements by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

At the bottom of the scale, the lowest-ranked civil servants have seen their pay more than double to 1,320 yuan.

Increasing numbers of officials are quitting over low compensation, the paper said, but it pointed out that basic salaries make up just one component of civil servants' monthly compensation. Additional allowances are also provided based on their positions and duties, it said, though it did not provide breakdowns or amounts.

Civil service work in China has long offered both prestige and official perks, as well as opportunities to accrue extra wealth through the receipt of bribes and other forms of corruption.

Since becoming head of the party in November 2012 and state president in March 2013, Mr Xi has spearheaded a crackdown on corruption within the party and government that has seen low-ranking "flies" and once high-flying "tigers" brought down for graft and extravagance.

Relatives of top leaders, including Mr Xi and former premier Wen Jiabao, have used offshore tax havens to hide their wealth, according to a mammoth investigation released in January last year by the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

In 2012, The New York Times and Bloomberg News published investigations into vast wealth said to have been amassed by family members of Mr Wen and Mr Xi. Neither official was accused of wrongdoing.

Last year, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported that Mr Xi and China's top leaders decided to cut salaries and restrict expense accounts and other perks of executives at state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Xinhua provided no exact amounts at the time, but the China Times newspaper said in December that executives at most central government-controlled SOEs would have their salaries cut by around 30 per cent, with their pay not to exceed eight times that of average workers.

The civil service pay increases are retroactive to Oct 1, the China Daily said, adding that future salary adjustments will be more frequent, with the ministry saying they will take place every year or two.

"The adjustment is not only about the salary increase, but aims to establish a scientific wage system, which can measure employees' duties and workload no matter whether they work for the government or a corporation," the paper cited Mr Yang Yansui, director-general of Tsinghua University's Employment and Social Security Research Centre, as saying.

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