Progress in poverty reduction and human rights
CChina’s State hina’s Council State InformationCouncil InformationOffice on Monday issued Office a on white Monday paper on issued China’sa whiteprogress in poverty paper reductionon China’s and progress human in rights. poverty Here’s an excerpt reductionof the and document.human rights.For full text, Followingplease go is to the http://ow.ly/1q2y305gLg9full text of the document. Contents I. China’s Poverty Reduction ProgramHas Promoted the Development of Human Rights
II. Ensuring Impoverished People’s Right to Life
III. Safeguarding Groups
IV. Improving the Development Environment of Impoverished Areas V. Concerted Efforts in Poverty Reduction VI. Poverty Reduction at a Crucial Stage the Rights of Specific
Poverty eradication is and always has been a goal and a basic right of all peoples in their pursuit of a happy life. Over the years, based on the prevailing national conditions, the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government have remained committed to a development concept that puts people’s rights to subsistence and to developmentfirst. Committed to reducingandeliminating poverty, China has endeavored to guarantee and improve people’s well-being, and developed a full range of social undertakings, so as to ensure that the results of development benefit all the people in a fairer way, and that all enjoy the rights to equal participation and equal development.
Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in November 2012, in the great cause of building a moderately prosperous society and realizing the Chinese Dream of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the CPC Central Committee led by General Secretary Xi Jinping has remained committed to a development concept that puts people first, and implemented the basic strategy of targeted poverty alleviation and elimination. China’s poverty reduction actions, both solid and effective, have made a great contribution to the cause of international poverty reduction, and achieved remarkable results in world human rights development.
I. China’s Poverty Reduction Program Has Promoted the Development of Human Rights
Poverty is so widespread that it has seriously hindered the fulfillment and enjoyment of human rights; reducing and eliminating poverty is therefore a major element of human rights protection.
Over the recent decades, the Chinese government has persevered in its attempts to eliminate poverty, improve people’s well-being, and gradually realize common prosperity. It has made continuous developmentoriented poverty-reduction efforts in rural areas to help thosewhoare striving to escape from poverty and improve the quality of their lives.
China’s poverty reduction actions are broad in extent; they include building rural and agricultural infrastructure, helping increase the incomes of impoverished population, and providing public services such as social security and health care, education and cultural services. While comprehensively safeguarding the economic, social and cultural rights of those living in poverty, these measures have created conditions for the protection of other human rights.
Since the initiation of reform and opening up in the late 1970s, theChinese government has worked without fail to alleviate poverty - establishing special poverty-relief institutions, determining targeted areas and population, allocating specialized funds, formulating poverty standards and special preferential policies adapted to China’s national conditions, andsteering its policy of poverty alleviation through development.
The government has carried out largescale development-oriented poverty eradication programs across the country in a planned and organized way, and implemented a series of medium- and long-term projects which include the Seven-Year Program for Lifting 80 Million People Out of Poverty (1994-2000), the Outline for Development-Oriented Poverty Alleviation for China’s Rural Areas (2001-2010) and the Outline for Development-Oriented Poverty Alleviation for China’s Rural Areas (20112020). Poverty reduction has become an important component of China’s national strategy.
Since the 18th National Congress of CPC, the Central Committee has given top priority to development-oriented poverty reduction in its philosophy of governance, deeming it vital in its efforts to complete the process of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the centenary of the CPC (founded in 1921), which is known to be one of China’s “Two Centenary Goals.”
To this end, poverty reduction has been incorporated into China’s overall approach to building socialism with Chinese characteristics, that is, to promote coordinated progress in economic, political, cultural, social and ecological areas and strategy of “Four Comprehensives” (comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively deepen reform, comprehensively implement the rule of law, and comprehensively strengthen Party discipline).
At the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee held in October 2015, the CPC further specified the task of eliminating rural poverty and rehabilitating all impoverished counties by 2020. The subsequent central work conference on development-oriented poverty reduction, held the following November, and the decision on winning the fight against poverty issued by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council in December, made comprehensive plans on poverty elimination for the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020).
China’s 13th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development has codified the central leadership’s poverty-reduction decision into the state will that is operable in practice. For the first time, poverty reduction has been made an important part of one of China’s five-year plans, and helping the poor population shake off poverty has been listed an obligatory index in such a document. Also for the first time, the heads of Party committees and governments of relevant provinces and autonomous regions have signed to the Central Authorities letters of commitment on poverty elimination, and likewise similar documents have been signed by leaders at lower levels.
Poverty reduction is the most telling evidence of China’s progress in human rights. Over the past 30 years or more since the launch of reform and opening up, more than 700 million Chinese people have been raised from poverty. The number of rural poor had fallen to 55.75 million by 2015, with the incidence of poverty dropping to 5.7 percent. Notable improvement has been made to infrastructure and basic public services, and poverty-reduction mechanisms have been innovated, thus contributing to the guarantee of the basic rights of the impoverished population. This has laid a solid foundation for achieving a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
The UN Millennium Development Goals Report 2015 shows that the proportion of people living in extreme poverty inChina fell by half from 61 percent in 1990 to below 30 percent in 2002, and on down to 4.2 percent in 2014. The number of citizens China has raised from poverty accounts for 70 percent of the world’s total. With the most people lifted out of poverty, China has led other countries to realize the UN Millennium Development Goal and made an enormous contribution to poverty reduction worldwide. Its endeavors have been widely hailed by the international community and its achievements will go down in history. Such achievements forcefully demonstrate the brilliant leadership of the CPC and the advantages of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
While combating poverty at home, China also actively helps other developing countries to address their poverty problems. Over more than six decades since the founding of thePeople’s Republic ofChina in 1949, China has provided nearly RMB400 billion to 166 countries and international organizations, sent more than 600,000 aid workers, given medical assistance to 69 countries, and aided more than 120 developing countries in realizing the Millennium Goals. On seven occasions China has unconditionally canceled interest-free loans to heavily indebted countries and least developed countries.
After years of trials and experimentation, China has accumulated a wealth of experience in promoting human rights through development- oriented poverty reduction, and established a new model of developmentoriented poverty alleviation with Chinese characteristics.
• Proceeding from the prevailing national conditions and exploiting its institutional advantages. China is the world’s largest developing country with more than 1.3 billion people. Development is the paramount task of the CPC in governing and rejuvenating China, which is essential to addressing the country’s existing problems. By exploiting its political and institutional advantages, China has formed a trans-regional, trans- departmental, and trans-industrial poverty reduction process to which all social sectors contribute through the mechanism of “Party leadership, government guidance and social participation.”
• Accelerating economic development and promoting poverty reduction. Taking poverty reduction as a major element of economic development, China promotes poverty reduction alongside economic growth, combines development-oriented poverty alleviation and socio-economic development, treats poverty alleviation through development as the main focus of the economic and social development plan, coordinates the development of poverty reduction and human rights protection, and achieves effective interaction between plans for poverty reduction and elimination, national economic and social development, and national human rights action.
• Adhering to multi-form poverty reduction, and focusing on effect. Development is the fundamental approach to poverty eradication. China addresses poverty reduction by enhancing the skills of the impoverished population and improving their capacity for self-development, and acts to prevent the transfer of poverty across generations. The government adds preferential policies to its general welfare policy, devising preferential policies for the impoverished population on the basis of the general welfare policy for the rural areas, agriculture and farmers. It takes targeted poverty reduction and elimination as the basic strategy, with differentiated and targeted measures, and provides aid and guarantees for all those who qualify.
• Prioritizing social fairness and justice, and striving to bring benefits and common prosperity to all. Focusing on ensuring and improving public well-being, China encourages institutional and organizational innovation, and promotes social fairness and justice. It is establishing a social fairness guarantee system applying to rights, opportunities and rules, protecting the people’s right to equal participation and equal development with the rule of law, and bringing the benefits of reform and development as well as common prosperity to the whole population.
II. Ensuring Impoverished People’s Right to Life
It is one of the basic policies of the Chinese government to innovatively improve its methods in reducing and eradicating poverty, and takes targeted measures to that end. Recently, through data tracking on the conditions of the impoverished population, the government analyzes the causes of their problems, and offer guidance on their development needs. Targeted measures are implemented in terms of funding, projects, and recipients. Every impoverished household is guaranteed help, every village has designated officials to carry out poverty eradication measures, and goals are met within the defined standards. In the fight against poverty, China has enhanced poverty eradication effects, accelerated the speed of poverty eradication, and ensured impoverished people’s right to life.
Support has been given to poverty eradication through developing industries with local features. The state has issued a series of development plans and policies regarding industries with local features to provide growth opportunities for impoverished areas. These include the Guiding Opinions on Strengthening Poverty Alleviation Work in the Agricultural Industry and Poverty Alleviation Plan in the Forestry Sector (20132020), which focuses on developing agriculture and animal husbandry with local features. Poverty Alleviation Through Development Plan of the Agricultural Industry (2011-2020); Measures for Increasing the Income of Industries with Local Features and Development Plan for Economic Forests (2013-2020), which lay out a good plan for the development of agriculture, forestry, and animal husbandry in contiguous poverty-stricken areas, with key areas specified; and Regional Layout of Agricultural Products with Local Features (2013-2020), which covers 96 agricultural products with local characteristics in impoverished areas for unified planning, with increased investment from various sources. During the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), RMB122 billion was spent on agricultural infrastructure and specialized funds, and RMB116 billion on forestry infrastructure and specialized funds in contiguous poverty-stricken areas. Driven by the industries with local characteristics, poverty-stricken areas are seeing greater momentum in their development, with growing incomes for farmers.
Poverty alleviation through resettling impoverished population has been steadily carried out. Since 2012 the state has allocated RMB40.4 billion from the central government to leverage a total investment of RMB141.2 billion of all kinds, resettling 5.91 million impoverished people. The central and provincial coffers as well as local governments at various levels have provided RMB38 billion for poverty reduction, resettled 5.8 million poor people. These concerted efforts have effectively brought more development opportunities to povertystricken areas. Through scientific planning and careful site selection, infrastructure and community services have been strengthened in resettlement areas, significantly improving the living and working conditions of the relocated population. By developing farm production and animal farming, and guiding workers to travel to seek employment elsewhere, China has seen increases in the income of resettled farmers and migrant workers, with faster progress in eradicating poverty and achieving prosperity. In 2016 the Chinese government has initiated a new round of resettlement programs for its impoverished population, with increased funds from central government, and further raised subsidy standards. It has introduced policy-based funds for development, expanded funding sources, and strengthened follow-up support to relocated people, ensuring that each resettled household is lifted out of poverty.
Poverty eradication through ecological conservation is making progress. In povertystrickenareas, the state promotes the protection of natural forest resources, returning farmlands to forests and grazing land to grasslands, controlling the sources of sandstorms affecting the Beijing- Tianjin area, controlling stony desertification, and protecting biological diversity. All these efforts have contributed to protecting the ecology in impoverished areas and restoring the environment, to improving local ecology, to providing more opportunities for the impoverished population, to boosting the industries with local characteristics, and to increasing the employment and income of local residents and protecting the resources required for their development. China has established a mechanism for ecological compensation, and is actively promoting the programin poverty-stricken areas. It has further raised the standards of compensating the ecological benefits of forests, improving the reward mechanism for grassland ecological protection, and promoting the modernization of animal husbandry in poverty-stricken areas. Measures have been taken to expand the income channels of the impoverished population, and to encourage voluntary work by those living in the key projects areas, thereby bringing them benefits. China strives to improve living conditions of impoverished population. Efforts have been madetoimprovethe ecologicalenvironment of impoverished counties, and to promote the development of woody grain and oil, specialty fruits, timber and bamboo forests, forest-dependent industries, herbivorous animal husbandry, and eco-tourism, effectively improving the lives of the impoverished population. Increased efforts have been made to alleviate poverty through education. During the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period, China prioritized education in its effort to eradicate poverty. The measures included: continuing to promote the balanced development of compulsory education, closing the gap in education between urban and rural areas, improving education infrastructure in impoverished areas, implementing the Action Plan for Three-Year Preschool Education, offering cost-of-living subsidies to teachers in rural areas, and enrolling students from poverty-stricken areas, exempting their tuition fees at secondary vocational schools, and allotting living subsidies to the students. All this was targeted at ensuring impoverished people’s access to education.
In 2012-2015, the central government injected RMB83.1 billion into poor compulsory education schools, and RMB14 billion to build 244,000 dormitory units for 300,000 teachers in remote rural areas. The state carried out a three-year action plan to promote preschool education, increasing the nation’s three-year preschool gross enrollment rate from 62.3 percent in 2011 to 75 percent in 2015. In central and western China, the number of children enrolled in kindergartens rose from 21.53 million in 2011 to 27.89 million in 2015, up 30 percent. Following the release of the Notice on Unifying the Establishment of the Faculty and Staff of Elementary and Secondary Schools in Urban and Rural Areas, issued in November 2014, the teaching and administrative staff of elementary and secondary schools in villages, counties, and towns began to enjoy the same standards of establishment as urban schools, with favorable treatment for those in remote poor rural areas. In 2013-2015, the central government allotted RMB4.4 billion for cost-of-living subsidies for rural teachers in contiguous poverty-stricken areas, benefiting over one million teachers in 600 counties. In 2012-2015, the central government provided RMB41.7 billion in tuition subsidies to secondary vocational schools, and granted exemptions from tuition fees to rural students (including those from counties and towns) and urban students with agriculture-related majors or with financial difficulties (except those majoring in arts) at fulltime public secondary vocational schools. Students who were eligible for tuitions exemption at private secondary vocational schools certified by administrative organs were guaranteed the same tuition exemptions as students of the same major at local public secondary vocational schools. The state offers grants to first- and second-year students with agriculture- related majors or with financial difficulties at full-time schools, and the standard has been raised from RMB1,500 per student per year in 20122014 to RMB2,000 since the spring semester of 2015, covering 40 percent of students. A directional enrollment program was carried out in poverty-stricken areas, enrolling 183,000 students in 832 impoverished counties form 2012 to 2015. In 2013-2015, the annual growth rate of rural students from poor areas enrolled in key universities was kept above 10 percent.
Poverty alleviation through medical security has been implemented. The Chinese government continues to strengthen its poverty alleviation effort through promoting medical security, reducing the medical costs of the impoverished population in rural areas, strengthening medical and health services in poverty-stricken areas, and improving the health of people in these areas, so that they are not reduced to or returned to poverty because of illness. All this has ensured the right to health. Improvement has been made in the New Rural Cooperative Medical System (NRCMS), which covers over 97 percent of rural residents.
In 2016, the NRCMS offers a per capita subsidy of RMB420, and reimbursement ratios of outpatient and inpatient costs reached 50 percent and 75 percent. Serious illness insurance for urban and rural residents has been fully implemented, covering more than one billion residents with a reimbursement ratio of no lower than 50 percent. A medical emergency relief system has been established to help people suffering from serious illnesses, and universal medical care has been further improved to cover major illnesses, significantly reducing the medical costs of rural residents. Since 2012, the central government has allocated RMB79.4 billion to support infrastructure construction at 110,000 health service units in poverty-stricken areas. Programs have been carried out to offer free medical education to rural students who will return to serve in their areas, to send general practitioners to clinics in rural areas, to pair up hospitals in urban and rural areas to enable medical assistance, and to organize statelevel hospitals to help and support countylevel hospitals in poverty-stricken areas. In 2015, 45 items in the 12 categories of basic public health services were implemented, with per capita subsidy rising from RMB15 in 2011 to RMB40. Programs have been carried out to ensure that women in rural areas have access to folic acid supplements in order to prevent neural tube defects, and to improve child nutrition in poverty-stricken areas, in an effort to strengthen disease prevention and control and promote good health. Thanks to these efforts the health of the impoverished population has gradually improved. In 2016, the National Health and Family Planning Commission, the State Council Leading Group of Poverty Alleviation and Development, and 13 other departments jointly launched a poverty alleviation project through health promotion, so as to ensure that the impoverished rural population will welcome the arrival of a moderately prosperous society with the rest of the nation.
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Children from poor families in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region can get 15 years of free education.