China Plays Down No. 2 Economic Ranking

Chinese officials and media are playing down the country's emergence as the world's second largest economy, insisting that China is still a developing country with millions of impoverished citizens.

At a briefing Tuesday, Commerce Ministry spokesman Yao Jian urged reporters to pay as much attention to China's low per-capita income as to its fast-growing GDP.

New figures released Monday in Tokyo showed China's production overtook Japan's during April, May and June, making China's economy second only to that of the United States.

But average incomes in China still are only one-tenth as high as in Japan.

The Communist Party-controlled newspaper Global Times warned Tuesday that China's new economic might has brought it "jealousy" and unwanted attention. Beijing faces international pressure to do more to counter climate change and allow its currency to float.

At his Commerce Ministry briefing, Yao stressed that China still has tens of millions of people living below the official poverty line.

He said the government's emphasis must be on economic development and raising the quality of people's lives.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and GlobalTimes