- Beijing is planning to give nearly $6 a month in subsidies to the city’s low-income residents.
- The subsidy is meant to help defray rising inflation in the capital city.
- The $6 a month subsidy triggered many Chinese social media users who say it’s too little.
Beijing, China’s capital, plans to help its residents struggling with rising prices — by giving a 40 Chinese yuan, or nearly $6 monthly subsidy per person to low-income residents, the Xinhua state news agency reported on Sunday, citing the administrator of the program, Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform.
The handouts are slated to start at the end of February and are expected to be granted to over 300,000 people, per Xinhua. The disbursements appear to be a temporary measure, the news outlet reported.
But it’s facing online backlash that the amount — which just about buys two Big Macs in China — is too low.
“40…is it even enough to cover the transport fare required to collect the money?” asked one user on the microblogging site Weibo who was commenting on a local media explainer of the subsidy program.
“Is it enough for one meal in Beijing?” asked another in response to the same explainer.
Several users said the subsidy should be 40 yuan a day instead of a month, which would translate to roughly 1,200 yuan — or about $175 — a month.
Despite general skepticism over how far 40 yuan can go in the Chinese capital, at least one user said it’s a good start that should be emulated by other local governments.
China’s consumer price index rose by 2.1% in January from a year ago, according to official statistics. Although the headline number appears low, food prices jumped 6.2%, with pork and fruit prices up 13.1% and 11.8% respectively. The surge was in part due to the Chinese New Year festival in January, but food prices have already been rising from a year ago for nine straight months.
However, in Beijing, food price inflation outpaced the national level, with prices rising 6.6% in January from a year ago, per Xinhua.
In comparison, the US CPI rose 6.4% in January 2023 from a year ago, with food prices up 10.1% in the same period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.