Xi gets 62% raise; still far behind peers

Updated: 2015-01-21 15:46

By AI HEPING in New York(China Daily USA)

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He leads the world's second-largest economy and its 1.4 billion people. And for that, Chinese President Xi Jinping just got a 62 percent pay hike - to about $22,000 annually.

Despite the raise, Xi's salary is still far behind many of his peers. US Barack Obama, who oversees the world's largest economy and a country of about 316 million, is paid $400,000 a year (not counting the extras: $50,000 for annual expenses, $19,000 for entertainment and $100,000 for travel costs).

And at the top of the list for leader's salaries: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, population of about 5 million, with an annual salary of $1.8 million. He took a 36 percent pay cut in 2012 in response to public anger over ministers' multi-million-dollar salaries.

Xi wasn't alone in getting a salary hike; the authorities said on Monday that all of China's civil servants were given raises retroactive to Oct 1. The country's lowest-ranked civil servants saw their pay more than double to 1,320 yuan. The announcement also said civil service pay would be reviewed every one or two years.

The raises are the first since 2006 and they come as government officials have been leaving their jobs because of low pay. Last year, nearly 900, people took the civil service test, the lowest in five years.

As for Xi and China's six other top leaders who make up the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, their monthly salaries went to 11,385 Yuan ($1,854) from7,020 yuan before unspecified allowances.

The basic salary is only one part of a Chinese civil servant's monthly salary. Allowances are also given according to duties and work positions.

While they got raises, last week the authorities announced that civil servants and those employed at public institutions will have to contribute to their pension plans, just like their private sector counterparts.

Here is the what other countries pay their leaders annually, excluding benefits, according to the Financial Times:

 Singapore  1.8m
 Russia  1.76m
 US  400,000
 European Commission  372,000
 Germany  290,000
 South Africa  224,000
 UK  215,000
 France  208,000
 Indonesia  64,000
 Poland  64,000