- Beijing plans to pay nearly $6 a month in subsidies to low-income city residents.
- The grant is intended to help cover rising inflation in the capital.
- The $6 per month subsidy has sparked many Chinese social media users who say it’s too little.
As in many other parts of the world, China faces rising inflation as the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and moves towards revive its economy.
Beijing, the Chinese capital, plans to help its residents struggling with rising prices – by providing a monthly subsidy of 40 yuan, or nearly $6 per person, to low-income residents, state news agency Xinhua reported on Sundayciting program administrator, Beijing Municipal Development and Reform Commission.
Distributions are expected to begin in late February and are expected to reach more than 300,000 people, according to Xinhua. The payouts appear to be a temporary measure, the outlet reported.
But it was in the face of an online backlash that the amount – who buys about two Big Macs in China – is too low.
“40…is that even enough to cover the transportation costs needed to get the money back?” asked a user of the Weibo microblogging site who was commenting on a local media explanatory of the grant program.
“Is that enough for a meal in Beijing?” asked another in response to the same explainer.
Several users said the subsidy should be 40 yuan per day instead of a month, which translates to about 1,200 yuan — or about $175 — per month.
Despite general skepticism about the reach of 40 yuan in the Chinese capital, at least one user says it’s a good start that should be emulated by other local governments.
China’s consumer price index rose 2.1% in January from a year ago, according to official statistics. Although the number of titles seems small, Food prices jumped 6.2%, with pork and fruit prices rising 13.1% and 11.8% respectively. The surge was partly due to the Chinese New Year festival in January, but food prices have already risen for a year to nine consecutive months.
However, in Beijing, food price inflation has exceeded the national level, with prices rising 6.6 percent in January from a year ago, according to Xinhua.
By comparison, the U.S. CPI rose 6.4% in January 2023 from a year ago, with food prices rising 10.1% over the same period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.