A report by China’s National Bureau of Statistics triggered outrage online after it classified anyone with a monthly salary above Rmb 2,000 ($295) as “middle income,” prompting clarification from the bureau, the South China Morning Post reports.
According to the report, which investigated how different income groups spent their time, Chinese citizens earning less than Rmb 2,000 were deemed “low income,” while those earning between Rmb 2,000 and 5,000 were described as “middle income.” Anyone taking home more than Rmb 5,000 was considered “relatively high” or “high income.”
Tempers flared across Chinese social media, with many users outraged that the government seemed out of touch with today’s costs of living.
“Are you kidding me? I make Rmb 3,000 and suddenly I’m middle class? I think I’m low-income,” wrote one user on Weibo.
The statistics bureau issued a statement after the report’s poor reception, explaining that “the term ‘middle-income group’ mentioned in the survey results has nothing to do with income brackets in the general sense.”
China was ranked 73rd in the world by per capita income at $8,827 in 2017, making it a “upper middle income” country according to the World Bank.