Prac­ti­cal Sig­nif­i­cance of Up and out of poverty

China Pictorial (English) - - Culture Books - Text by Li Junru The au­thor served as vice pres­i­dent of the Cen­tral Party School.

Poverty al­le­vi­a­tion has al­ways been a hard, thought-pro­vok­ing topic.

Why? China’s sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion CPC lead­er­ship with Deng Xiaop­ing (1904-1997) at the core de­vel­oped a “three-step” de­vel­op­ment strat­egy: The first was to shake off poverty in the 1980s, the sec­ond was to pro­mote bet­ter liv­ing stan­dards in the 1990s, and the fi­nal step was to re­al­ize so­cial­ist mod­ern­iza­tion within 50 years af­ter en­ter­ing the 21st Cen­tury.

This be­came the gen­eral strat­egy for the whole coun­try. Tar­gets, tasks, and in­di­ca­tors dif­fered for dif­fer­ent re­gions due to dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances. In gen­eral, it was ex­tremely dif­fi­cult for un­der­de­vel­oped ar­eas to catch up by fol­low­ing the same strat­egy. Eastern Fu­jian, where Xi Jin­ping worked, was a poverty-stricken area. His two years there rep­re­sented the last two for the coun­try to shake off the fi­nal rem­nants of poverty. Could that part of the coun­try grow as fast as other part of China? Ul­ti­mately, they suc­ceeded: In 1990, eastern Fu­jian scored above the poverty thresh­old. How did they do it? The an­swers can be found in a book. “The ti­tle is Up and Out of Poverty,” Xi il­lus­trated. “Its sig­nif­i­cance is first and fore­most to up­root out­dated ‘poverty men­tal­ity’ and ‘poverty think­ing.’ We must erad­i­cate the ‘poverty’ that ex­ists in our minds be­fore we can erad­i­cate it in re­gions we gov­ern. We must en­rich our minds be­fore we can help the peo­ple and na­tion out of poverty and onto the road to pros­per­ity.”

“But I ad­vo­cate ac­tion,” he stressed. “Prac­tice trumps knowl­edge be­cause prac­tice is based on ac­tion. In­stead of fear­ing say­ing the wrong thing, we should worry about suf­fer­ing from ‘poverty men­tal­ity’ that pre­vents us from en­vi­sion­ing bolder ways to im­ple­ment re­form and open­ing up. In­stead of fear­ing do­ing the wrong thing, we should worry about elim­i­nat­ing the bank­rupt mind­sets that block us from tak­ing stronger ac­tion to con­duct re­form and open­ing up.”

Un­der his lead­er­ship, eastern Fu­jian caught up with other parts of the coun­try and leapt out of poverty. Do­ing so re­quired all res­i­dents to free their minds, seek truth from facts and act—re­form and open up.

In the book, Xi Jin­ping re­vealed his strate­gic think­ing. Ul­ti­mately, only de­vel­op­ment will make any dif­fer­ence, which be­came the key driver of his work in eastern Fu­jian to help it catch up with other parts of the coun­try and reach the sec­ond-step goal set by Deng Xiaop­ing. With China in the pri­mary stage of so­cial­ism, its core prob­lem is in­ad­e­quately meet­ing the ever-grow­ing ma­te­rial and cul­tural needs of the peo­ple. There­fore, it im­per­a­tive to keep eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment as the coun­try’s cen­tral task.

Xiang Nan, first sec­re­tary of the Fu­jian CPC Pro­vin­cial Com­mit­tee, penned the fore­word for Up and Out of Poverty. “The strong­est fea­ture of Xi Jin­ping’s writ­ing from this pe­riod is that it never strays from the fo­cus of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment,” Xiang ob­served. In the book, Xi clearly ex­pressed that the only way to pros­per and strengthen a na­tion is to en­cour­age all peo­ple to take eco­nomic con­struc­tion as the top goal.

Af­ter read­ing it, I was sure that Up and Out of Poverty was an im­por­tant work be­cause it con­tin­ues to serve as a prac­ti­cal and far­reach­ing guide.

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