China uses In­ter­net to lift ru­ral re­gions out of poverty

Global Times - - Front Page - By Cao Siqi

As part of ef­forts to lift 43 mil­lion peo­ple out of poverty, China is har­ness­ing the power of the In­ter­net in a ground­break­ing on­line ini­tia­tive.

To make full use of the “In­ter­net Plus” to in­volve peo­ple from all walks of life in help­ing the poor, the State Coun­cil es­tab­lished an on­line plat­form in July, called So­cial Par­tic­i­pa­tion in Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion and Devel­op­ment.

With five sub-plat­forms, which in­clude giv­ing do­na­tions, an on­line store and crowd fund­ing, the plat­form can be ac­cessed on­line and via a mo­bile app, or on WeChat. Users can browse the web­site to find peo­ple or a fam­ily they wish to help.

Ac­cord­ing to the web­site, it had pub­lished 544,892 re­quests for help and gath­ered over 23 mil­lion yuan ($3.45 mil­lion) in do­na­tions as of press time.

To ex­pand on­line

ser­vices to ru­ral areas, cities across the coun­try have pledged to pro­mote the web­site to al­le­vi­ate poverty. For ex­am­ple, start­ing Mon­day, the poverty re­lief of­fice of Hengyang, Hu­nan Prov­ince be­gan to mo­bi­lize its em­ploy­ees to reg­is­ter the in­for­ma­tion of poverty-stricken house­holds and vil­lages.

Af­ter check­ing for au­then­tic­ity, the in­for­ma­tion will be up­loaded to the on­line plat­form. The of­fice has vowed to reg­is­ter all poverty-stricken fam­i­lies be­fore 2018.

Train­ing cour­ses on in­struct­ing govern­ment em­ploy­ees to reg­is­ter and use the plat­form as well as re­view­ing and pub­lish­ing the in­for­ma­tion have been held across the na­tion.

Pro­mot­ing lo­cal agri­cul­ture

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has said on­line ser­vices should play a big­ger role in re­duc­ing poverty by pro­mot­ing agri­cul­tural goods pro­duced by im­pov­er­ished peo­ple and by mak­ing high-qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion ac­ces­si­ble to more chil­dren in re­mote moun­tain­ous re­gions via the In­ter­net, the Xin­hua News Agency re­ported.

Xin­jiang Uyghur Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion is one of the re­gions to have used e-com­merce to boost the lo­cal econ­omy.

“In the past two years, Xin­jiang’s e-busi­nesses have de­vel­oped rapidly and many lo­cal res­i­dents have ben­e­fited from poverty re­lief mea­sures boosted by the In­ter­net. For ex­am­ple, e-com­merce pro­vides res­i­dents in south­ern Xin­jiang with the op­por­tu­nity to in­tro­duce their prod­ucts, such as cot­ton, wal­nuts and rice, to the rest of the coun­try. It not only helps avoid gluts of these prod­ucts due to re­mote ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tions and lag­ging lo­gis­tics sys­tems, but also at­tracts more buy­ers to sign bulk pur­chase agree­ments,” Huang Changhui, di­rec­tor of the Yuli county e-busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tion, told the Global Times.

Huang said that e-com­merce also helped al­le­vi­ate un­em­ploy­ment, as many have started to earn good in­comes by act­ing as an agent for these prod­ucts. “An agent can earn 3,000 to 5,000 yuan a month,” Huang said.

Tar­geted ef­forts

Dur­ing his visit to Chongqing mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Jan­uary 2016, Xi said the suc­cess of devel­op­ment-ori­ented poverty re­lief lies in “pre­cise and tar­geted poverty al­le­vi­a­tion ef­forts.”

“To en­sure pre­cise and tar­geted poverty al­le­vi­a­tion, the lo­cal govern­ment rules that any of­fi­cials who are rel­a­tives of poverty-stricken fam­i­lies must take re­spon­si­bil­ity for help­ing their fam­i­lies out of poverty. My un­cle, who works in the govern­ment of a town­ship, can’t get his salary un­til my fam­ily suc­ceeds in shak­ing off poverty,” a res­i­dent sur­named Ma from a ru­ral vil­lage in He­nan Prov­ince told the Global Times.

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