hina, the world’s most populous country, had 1.341 billion people at the end of 2010, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday. The preliminary figure released by the National Bureau of Statistics compares with a population 1.335 billion at the end of 2009 and 1.328 billion at the end of 2008.
China is scheduled to release the final count in April, which is based on the country’s sixth national population census, the bureau said in a statistics bulletin, carried by Xinhua.
Despite the increase in the number of rural workers, labor shortages have recently been felt in many of China’s manufacturing hubs.
Although China overtook Japan last year to be the world’s second largest economy, it still had 27 million people living below the poverty line for the country’s rural areas, which was set at CNY 1,274 (USD 193) last year, said Xinhua.
Meanwhile, the government will set its annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth target for the 2011-2015 period at 7 percent, and make the improvement of living standards a fundamental aim.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Sunday that the GDP target for the 12th Five-Year Program period (2011-2015) was lower than the 7.5 percent target for the 11th Five-Year Program period (2006-2010), when China’s economy grew at an actual annual rate of about 10 percent.
“We’ll never seek a high economic growth rate and size at the price of the environment, as that would result in unsustainable growth with industrial overcapacity and intensive resource consumption,” Wen was quoted as saying in an on-line chat with the public.
His chat on the websites of the central government and Xinhua came ahead of the opening of the annual session of the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislature on March 5.