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Throughout most of Chinese history the majority of Chinese have lived in poverty. As the hundreds of famines that have killed millions of Chinese attest, Chinese poverty has often been absolute, i.e., lacking the very material resources needed to sustain life and maintain health. However, poverty is most often defined relatively, being materially disadvantaged vis-୶is the standards of one's society, for example official poverty lines. Since poverty was defined first by the People's Republic government when it set criteria to define "poor peasants," in what follows, poverty will generally refer simply to severe levels of material deprivation.
Encyclopedia of Modern China
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Sociology not elsewhere classified