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The Globe and Mail

From bare feet to Rolls-Royce: The growing wealth gap in China

China has pledged to double household incomes over the coming decade in a bid to close a wealth gap so wide it threatens social stability

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A female farmer’s foot is covered with mud as she works on a farm in Langfang, Hebei province. China has witnessed a growing disparity between the prosperous cities and the impoverished countryside since the early 1990s.


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Women wear high heels during a photo session for celebrity guests prior to a fashion show in Beijing. Chinese shoppers account for one-fourth of all luxury purchases globally and last year surpassed U.S. consumers to become the world's top spenders on luxury goods.


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People have dinner at a fine restaurant in Beijing. The price of dish of abalone and shark's fin in the restaurant is around 850 yuan (about $140).


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Men eat their lunch on a street after buying the food from a street vendor in Beijing. The price of one plate of meal with rice and several side dishes from the street vendor is 10 yuan (about $1.60).


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A man transports a family of passengers on his electronic tricycle cart in Beijing. In China, the world's biggest auto market, bicycles and tricycles powered by electricity is a main transportation choice for low-income groups.


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Visitors eye a Rolls-Royce vintage car during the Rolls-Royce's Concours d'Elegance event for celebrating its 10 years of business in China. China has become a crucial market for makers of luxury cars, with 2.7 million expected to be sold there each year by 2020, overtaking the United States as the world's leader in the segment.


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A dog rummages for food in a garbage can at a residential area for a migrant workers' village in Beijing. Although the proportion of extreme poverty has fallen over recent decades, about 12 per cent of the country's 1.3 billion people still live on less than $1.25 per day.


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A woman wearing a fur coat holds her pet dog at a book store inside an airport in Beijing. In the marquee cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, a growing nouveau-riche class even sees pets, particularly dogs, as fashion items, outfitting them in designer clothing, paying for spa treatments and dyeing their fur unnatural colours.


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