China Focus: People's well-being high on gov't agenda amid COVID-19 epidemic



by Xinhua writer Zhao Yang

China has strived to ensure the well-being of the Chinese people while combating the COVID-19 epidemic, offering social assistance with wider coverage and better services as well as promoting employment through multiple channels.


Highlighting the welfare of people in difficulties, the country provided targeted assistance to secure their employment while increasing their disposable income with the help of social security programs.

China has offered social assistance with wider coverage and more funds to disadvantaged groups to mitigate the impact of the epidemic.

The Ministry of Finance has allocated 103 billion yuan to support the basic livelihoods of people in need and will further grant around 53 billion yuan as aid to the group, Wang Xinxiang, a senior official of the ministry told a press conference on April 10.

A total of 3.71 billion yuan in temporary relief has been distributed to support disadvantaged groups in purchasing life necessities, benefiting around 81.69 million people including those living on subsistence allowances and in extreme difficulty, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA).

The country also decided to double the relief during the March-June period, while involving 8 million more people in the mechanism, including orphans, unattended children and people out of work, said the National Development and Reform Commission.

Scaling up the coverage of unemployment insurance system, the country decided to grant six-month unemployment allowances to those ineligible for unemployment insurance or with expired unemployment insurance under the existing mechanism, said the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS).

Some 9.3 billion yuan of unemployment insurance premiums had been offered to 2.3 million unemployed people by the end of March, while 67,000 jobless migrant workers have received 410 million yuan worth of one-off living allowances.

Individual consumption has also been supported, with individual consumer loans rising by 609.4 billion yuan in March, reversing a net losing streak in February, according to the PBOC. Meanwhile, China's banking and insurance regulator encouraged the flexible adjustment of repayment arrangements for credit card debts, housing and automobile mortgages to ease people's financial pressure.

Basic living demands of people in need were also emphasized, as the MCA urged local civil affairs authorities and community workers to regularly visit and offer timely assistance to orphans, left-behind children, the elderly and other disadvantaged groups including those severely ill or disabled who are placed in isolation at home because of the epidemic.

On Feb. 24, volunteers of the Jiangxinyuan Community in Wuhan visited 19 people in need, including unaccompanied senior citizens and disabled residents, bringing life necessities such as rice, flour and vegetables.

This is just one example of community-based services to people in need, as targeted assistance such as shopping and cleaning, health care and psychological counseling was provided at the community level.


Stressing the role of employment in stabilizing people's income, China promoted employment through facilitating work resumption, easing the financial pressure of firms and creating new jobs.

A package of benefits has been offered to cut firms' spending on insurance, rent, tax and fees. For example, the country has exempted 232.9 billion yuan of social insurance premiums and refunded 38.8 billion yuan of unemployment insurance, benefiting nearly 81 million employees, according to the MHRSS.

"Point-to-point" non-stop transportation has been offered to nearly 5.9 million migrant workers to help them return to work, MHRSS data showed.

More than 13.39 million job posts from 1.34 million companies had been offered by April 16 at the special online job fair organized by the MHRSS, which was launched on March 20 and will last until the end of June.

The country encouraged poor laborers to work in sectors related to agricultural production and infrastructure construction while creating new public job opportunities to tide them over the present difficulties.

In the first quarter, 2.29 million new urban jobs were created, and the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas stood at 5.9 percent in March, down 0.3 percentage points from February, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.