On track to achieve the goal of erad­i­cat­ing poverty

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEWS -

In his re­port de­liv­ered at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the 19th Na­tional Congress of Com­mu­nist Party of China on Wed­nes­day, Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Xi Jin­ping sum­ma­rized China’s achieve­ments over the past five years. And one of the big­gest achieve­ments is more than 60 mil­lion peo­ple have been lifted out of poverty.

Although fac­ing se­vere chal­lenges such as slower eco­nomic growth since 2012 due to eco­nomic tran­si­tion, China has im­ple­mented poli­cies and mea­sures to re­duce the num­ber of poor peo­ple in the coun­try, which have yielded re­mark­able re­sults. Poverty al­le­vi­a­tion is vi­tal to achieve the goal of build­ing a mod­er­ately well-off so­ci­ety in an all-round way.

In­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion has re­mark­ably im­proved trans­porta­tion, safe drink­ing wa­ter and power sup­ply, and com­mu­ni­ca­tions in im­pov­er­ished ru­ral ar­eas. The hous­ing of mil­lions of poor house­holds have been re­built. Ba­sic pub­lic ser­vices, such as ed­u­ca­tion and med­i­cal care, pro­vided for im­pov­er­ished ru­ral res­i­dents, as well as in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment and em­ploy­ment in pover­tys­tricken ar­eas have also im­proved.

The Chi­nese lead­er­ship with Xi Jin­ping as the core has ex­hib­ited wis­dom and courage in push­ing for­ward the great cause of poverty al­le­vi­a­tion with pre­ci­sion strat­egy.

China stepped into the eco­nomic new nor­mal five years ago, which sig­naled the shift in its re­liance from im­ports, ex­ports and in­vest­ments to do­mes­tic con­sump­tion, in­no­va­tion and re­form for eco­nomic growth. As a re­sult, its growth rate has slowed a bit.

China’s av­er­age an­nual GDP per capita growth from 2012 to last year was 6.1 per­cent, 3 per­cent­age points lower than the av­er­age from 2008 to 2011. This eco­nomic slow­down has re­duced the pull ef­fect of eco­nomic growth on poverty al­le­vi­a­tion. The slow­ing of the em­ploy­ment growth rate and the ad­just­ment to the em­ploy­ment struc­ture have also had neg­a­tive in­flu­ence on poverty al­le­vi­a­tion work.

China’s non-agri­cul­tural em­ploy­ment growth rate, es­pe­cially that of mi­grant work­ers, has been de­clin­ing since 2012. Last year, the num­ber of mi­grant work­ers work­ing out­side their home­town for more than six months grew only 0.3 per­cent, and the pro­por­tion of mi­grant work­ers in the con­struc­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries (the most mi­grant worker-in­ten­sive in­dus­tries) de­clined 2.5 per­cent­age and 0.9 per­cent­age points com­pared with 2013.

Be­sides, the de­clin­ing prices of pri­mary agri­cul­tural prod­ucts in re­cent years have made it dif­fi­cult for im­pov­er­ished ru­ral house­holds, which de­pend heav­ily on the pro­duc­tion of pri­mary agri­cul­tural goods, to in­crease their in­comes. And since 2012 the growth rate of China’s na­tional fis­cal rev­enue de­clined from 12.8 per­cent in 2012 to 4.5 per­cent in 2016, the low­est since 1987, mak­ing poverty al­le­vi­a­tion work more dif­fi­cult.

Fac­ing the heavy bur­den and se­vere chal­lenge of eco­nomic tran­si­tion, the gov­ern­ment has adopted a pre­ci­sion poverty al­le­vi­a­tion strat­egy and taken a se­ries of ef­fec­tive mea­sures to lift the re­main­ing im­pov­er­ished pop­u­la­tion of China out of poverty by 2020. The strat­egy is aimed at us­ing the lim­ited poverty al­le­vi­a­tion re­sources with pre­ci­sion to get the de­sired ef­fect. Which means China has es­tab­lished a com­pre­hen­sive or­ga­ni­za­tional and in­sti­tu­tional sys­tem of pre­ci­sion poverty al­le­vi­a­tion.

The Party com­mit­tees and gov­ern­ments at all lev­els have been given the re­spon­si­bil­ity of erad­i­cat­ing poverty in their ar­eas. And a se­ries of poli­cies to in­crease the in­comes of im­pov­er­ished ru­ral house­holds, and a poverty al­le­vi­a­tion as­sess­ment sys­tem in­clud­ing au­dit­ing, in­spec­tion and third­party evaluation has been put in place.

The gov­ern­ment, on its part, has not only al­lo­cated more spe­cial poverty al­le­vi­a­tion funds, but is also in­creas­ing poverty al­le­vi­a­tion re­sources through in­te­grat­ing other spe­cial agri­cul­tural and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment re­lated funds at county level.

Re­cent years have also seen China pro­mot­ing sup­ply-side struc­tural re­form to im­prove ef­fi­ciency and qual­ity, which has boosted poverty al­le­vi­a­tion works.

Poverty al­le­vi­a­tion is vi­tal to good gov­er­nance. And the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pre­ci­sion poverty al­le­vi­a­tion strat­egy will help China win the bat­tle against poverty and build a mod­er­ately welloff so­ci­ety in an all-round way.

The au­thor is the di­rec­tor of Cen­ter for Poverty Stud­ies, Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences.

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