22 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The Chinese Ministry of Labor and Social Security says the country's rapidly widening income gap has reached dangerous levels and could trigger "social instability" after 2010 if the trend continues.
The ministry's income research institute has found that the income gap had been expanding in recent years despite a series of government measures to raise the income of the poor since 2003.
The institute said it was pessimistic about bridging the urban-rural gap as urban incomes were growing nearly twice as fast as rural incomes.
There is also a dangerous disparity between the affluent coastal cities and impoverished inland cities.
Violent protests and riots have become common among Chinese frustrated by growing social inequality, massive corruption, and illegal land requisitions, sparking government fears of mass instability.