Com­plete vic­tory urged in poverty bat­tle

China Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By LI LEI lilei@ chi­nadaily. com. cn

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has urged con­tin­u­ous ef­forts to win a com­plete vic­tory in the bat­tle against poverty as China marked the sev­enth Na­tional Poverty Re­lief Day on Sat­ur­day.

Xi, who is also gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and chair­man of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, made the re­mark in an in­struc­tion on poverty re­lief work.

He said that 2020 is the de­ci­sive year in com­plet­ing the build­ing of a mod­er­ately pros­per­ous so­ci­ety in all re­spects and erad­i­cat­ing poverty na­tion­wide.

Fac­ing the chal­lenges of COVID- 19 and se­vere floods, the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee is un­wa­ver­ingly de­ter­mined to achieve the goal of poverty al­le­vi­a­tion as sched­uled, he said.

Xi urged Party com­mit­tees and gov­ern­ments at all lev­els to main­tain the mo­men­tum and never stop un­til the coun­try se­cures a com­plete vic­tory, as the fight against poverty has en­tered its fi­nal stage.

He noted that all lo­cal­i­ties and de­part­ments should give full play to the sys­tem and mech­a­nism of poverty al­le­vi­a­tion, while keep­ing poli­cies sta­ble and con­sol­i­dat­ing the re­sults with mul­ti­ple mea­sures.

Mean­while, ef­forts should be made to stim­u­late the en­doge­nous driv­ing forces of poverty- stricken pop­u­la­tions and ar­eas in or­der to ad­vance to­ward the goal of re­al­iz­ing com­mon pros­per­ity, he said.

The in­struc­tion was de­liv­ered on Sat­ur­day at a na­tional tele­con­fer­ence, at which China hon­ored in­di­vid­u­als and in­sti­tu­tions with a na­tional award for their out­stand­ing work in poverty al­le­vi­a­tion.

The award- win­ning in­di­vid­u­als and in­sti­tu­tions de­liv­ered re­ports on their work at the meet­ing.

Yang Ning, head of Jiang­men vil­lage in the Guangxi Zhuang au­ton­o­mous re­gion and one of the award win­ners, said the an­nual per capita in­come in her vil­lage more than tripled to 7,000 yuan ($ 1,045) over the past few years, thanks to tar­geted poverty re­lief pro­grams that have fos­tered a lu­cra­tive business by grow­ing cash crops such as wa­ter­mel­ons and mush­rooms.

That has also slashed the poverty rate in Jiang­men from 20 per­cent to nearly zero, said Yang, who re­turned to work in her home vil­lage af­ter grad­u­at­ing from col­lege in the re­gional cap­i­tal of Nan­ning in 2010.

“The trans­for­ma­tion of my vil­lage is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of what has been achieved by the na­tional poverty re­duc­tion cam­paign,” she said.

Zhang Zhiqiang, Party sec­re­tary of Six­ian county, a poverty- stricken area in An­hui prov­ince, said that to win the lo­cal anti- poverty cam­paign the county sent more than 300 young and ca­pa­ble of­fi­cials to over­see poverty re­lief work at vil­lage level.

He said the sac­ri­fice and de­vo­tion of these of­fi­cials has paid off, with 17,000 farm­ers re­turn­ing to their home vil­lages due to greater job op­por­tu­ni­ties and the county be­ing lifted out of poverty in 2018. More than 16,000 vil­lagers were lifted out of poverty due to jobs cre­ated by the stronger lo­cal econ­omy.

“For the past three years, Six­ian has ranked among the top 100 coun­ties in China in terms of in­vest­ment,” he said.

Poverty has plagued China for thou­sands of years. Since the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic of China in 1949, and es­pe­cially since the start of re­form and open­ing- up in 1978, the anti- poverty bat­tle led by the CPC has im­proved the lives of more than 700 mil­lion ru­ral peo­ple.

Xi as­sumed the his­toric re­spon­si­bil­ity of lead­ing this fight when he was elected gen­eral sec­re­tary of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee at the First Ple­nary Ses­sion of the 18th CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee in Novem­ber 2012.

He has con­vened a se­ries of meet­ings on poverty al­le­vi­a­tion. Be­fore ev­ery such meet­ing, he would visit im­pov­er­ished re­gions to con­duct re­search, learn about lo­cal sit­u­a­tions and hear the opinions of grass­roots of­fi­cials and mem­bers of the pub­lic.

At a land­mark Party gath­er­ing in Bei­jing in 2012, the cen­tral au­thor­i­ties launched a new round of the anti- poverty drive that aimed to use tar­geted mea­sures to erad­i­cate ex­treme poverty in China be­fore 2021, the Party’s cen­te­nary. In 2012, 98.99 mil­lion peo­ple in China lived below the poverty line.

China has de­fined ex­treme poverty as hav­ing a per capita in­come of less than 2,300 yuan a year.

The poverty line — set in 2011 and ad­justed an­nu­ally with in­fla­tion — reached more than 4,000 yuan this year. The amount varies from place to place due to pur­chas­ing power par­ity.

The au­thor­i­ties have also made ef­forts to achieve uni­ver­sal cov­er­age of com­pul­sory ed­u­ca­tion, af­ford­able health­care and clean drink­ing wa­ter in less af­flu­ent ru­ral re­gions.

The head count of ru­ral poor has been drop­ping by more than 10 mil­lion an­nu­ally since 2012 thanks to the re­dou­bled ef­forts un­der Pres­i­dent Xi.

The State Coun­cil Lead­ing Group Of­fice of Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment, the top anti- poverty agency, said more than 93 mil­lion peo­ple had been lifted out of ab­so­lute poverty by the end of 2019, which has won praise from politi­cians and schol­ars world­wide.

United Na­tions Sec­re­tary- Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res said China made the great­est con­tri­bu­tions to world poverty al­le­vi­a­tion in the past decade.

By end­ing do­mes­tic poverty by the end of this year, China will achieve the UN’s 2030 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals in poverty re­lief 10 years ahead of sched­ule.

Is­mat­ulla Bek­mu­ra­tov, a pro­fes­sor at Tashkent State Uni­ver­sity of Ori­en­tal Stud­ies in Uzbek­istan, at­trib­uted China’s poverty re­duc­tion suc­cess pri­mar­ily to the at­ten­tion of Xi, who made poverty erad­i­ca­tion a cen­ter­piece of the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment plan and led the war against poverty.

Yuri Tavrovsky, a Si­nol­o­gist and pro­fes­sor at the Peo­ples’ Friend­ship Uni­ver­sity of Rus­sia, said un­der Xi’s lead­er­ship, China’s anti- poverty fight has no­tably gath­ered pace. De­feat­ing poverty be­fore the CPC’s 100th found­ing an­niver­sary will lay the foun­da­tion for the re­al­iza­tion of the Chi­nese Dream, he said.

CAO YANG / XINHUA

A farmer dries grain in Ma­tian, a vil­lage in Zuo­quan county, Shanxi prov­ince, on Sat­ur­day. All house­holds in the vil­lage were lifted out of poverty at the end of 2018 thanks to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties’ tar­geted poverty al­le­vi­a­tion mea­sures.

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