(Greenwich, 9/25/2006) This piece is for the closet philologists out there. The Peoples Daily Online website is running an interesting series of articles called 49 obsolete Chinese words that tracks changes in the Chinese language. Here is one from yesderday:
Wanyuanhu: disappeared in 1997.
The Chinese phrase “wanyuanhu” means a household whose annual income exceeds 10,000 yuan. In the early 1980s, the average household income was very low in China. Then, a wanyuanhu was considered very rich in both rural and urban areas. Owing to rapid economic growth in the 1990s, the standard of living has improved significantly. In 1997, the average annual income of a rural household surpassed 10,000 yuan according to national statistics. Every household has become a wanyuanhu. This was no longer considered a high standard of living and so the phrase became outdated.
Lifting vast numbers of people out of poverty is one of the truly great stories of our time. Thought you would like to see a story with a happy ending for a change.