A substantial literature credits the People’s Republic of China with impressive gains in the reduction of inequality. Dwight Perkins (1978: 562), for example, observed that China has “ clearly reduced intravillage income differentials in a major way; per capita differences of 2:1 from the richest to the poorest family are probably rare. ’ ’1 Similarly, Alexander Eckstein (1978: 102) noted evidence of both “ a compression of average urban-rural income differentials” and “ narrowing of income differentials . . . in the inter-regional distribution of income. ’ ’ Yet, at least until the early eighties, quantitative information about changing local, regional, and national patterns of income and inequality was at best scarce and highly selective. In light of the extensive development literature elucidating the tendency for both interhousehold and spatial inequalities to widen during early phases of development, and the extensive praise for Chinese reduction of inequality, with new data we can now more precisely gauge that performance.2