Nation’s poverty relief efforts bearing ripe fruit
Government measures improve lives in rural areas
Increased poverty relief efforts, along with better rural infrastructure, means that millions of rural poor in China can now access safe drinking water, move out of unsafe housing and receive better education and medical care.
According to the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, in the past five years, 14 million people have gained access to safe drinking water, and the homes of 7 million poor families have been renovated.
During this time, some 970,000 rural schools have received extra government funding, and 4.2 million poor patients have been treated promptly.
This year marks the fifth year since President Xi Jinping put forward the concept of targeted poverty alleviation during a field inspection in an impoverished village in Hunan province.
The country has developed its own measures to combat poverty, and these were summarized at the International Forum on Reform and Opening Up and Poverty Reduction in China, which opened in Beijing on Thursday.
The measures include: a targeted approach, which calls for methods to be tailored to local conditions; the participation of enterprises and nonprofit organizations in the government-led fight; and the inclusion of poverty relief jobs in local governments’ annual assessments.
The way in which poverty has been alleviated through these measures can be seen in a 600-square-meter workshop at a glove factory in Xintiaohe village of Jiaxiang county, Shandong province.
Late last month, nearly 200 women sat behind rows of sewing machines, making sports gloves.
“This factory produced 300,000 pairs of gloves last year. The number of gloves we produce here has increased in recent years, providing steady income for local workers,” said Jiang Haiying, who is in charge of the plant.
The factory is one of more than 200 in Jiaxiang. Over 30 years, the county has become the country’s largest producer and exporter of sports gloves.
Jiaxiang produces more than 70 million pairs of gloves annually, according to the county’s glove industry association. These are mainly sports gloves used for skiing, hunting and shooting.
The county accounts for just over 76 percent of China’s sports glove exports, and its gloves have been sold to more than 30 countries and regions, including Europe, Japan and the United States.
The industry, which is labor intensive, has proved to be an efficient way to lift farmers out of poverty, said Chen Jianhua, head of the county’s glove industry association and chairman of Jianhua Zhongxing Glove Industry Group, the largest sports glove manufacturer and exporter in Jiaxiang.
At the Xintiaohe factory, the women’s wages vary according to their output — from 1,500 to 5,000 yuan ($218 to $727), Jiang of the factory said.
“This is a decent income for farmers. The most important thing is they don’t need to leave home to work as migrants,” she said.
Chen is happy to see how the industry is improving farmers’ lives.
“Ten years ago, dozens of buses would come to our county after Spring Festival to take hundreds of women to work in cities in the south. It was heartbreaking to see elderly people and children seeing these women off, with tears in their eyes,” he said.
Jiaxiang has about 700 small workshops in nearly 600 villages, accounting for more than 80 percent of the villages in the county. These workshops have created jobs for 50,000 farmers, according to the county government, and the glove industry has lifted 260 families out of poverty.
Li Xianqing’s left leg is paralyzed due to polio, which he contracted when he was 2. The 53-year-old now runs a glove production company that produced 600,000 pairs last year. About 90 percent of his gloves are sold overseas, he said.
Li’s company has provided jobs for about 50 physically challenged workers.
At an industrial park in the county that specializes in glove manufacturing, a barrier-free factory has been built in line with standards set by the China Disabled Persons’ Federation, including a parking lot, toilets and antiskid ramps.
To enable physically challenged farmers to master skills, the county frequently organizes training sessions for them and has provided jobs for more than 40 farmers.
Taking the opportunities offered by the Belt and Road Initiative, the county’s glove industry has extended to Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, bringing wealth to more people.
In 2015, the Jianhua Zhongxing Glove Industry Group built a branch in Kashgar, which has provided jobs for more than 2,000 locals.
“The Xinjiang production base not only provides us with a more convenient and efficient route to export our gloves, but jobs for local people,” Chen said.
With the 2022 Winter Olympics being held in China, orders have increased and have kept the workers busy.
“The abundance of skilled, experienced workers is important for the glove production industry,” Chen added.
A good worker needs at least two years’ experience. The tiniest flaw can result in a customer canceling an order, so experienced farmers are valued highly by companies, he said.
Meanwhile, a retired European police officer is living a happy life while helping farmers to escape from poverty in a poor village in Hechi, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
Nico Rene Hansen, 58, who is from Luxembourg, said great changes have taken place after more than four months of hard work in the mountainous village of Zhadong.
The passion fruit vines he planted with villagers are now growing well and all the fruit has been sold online, which will help the villagers to increase their incomes, Hansen said.
Located in the city’s Yizhou district, Zhadong administers 14 smaller villages and comprises 600 villagers from 180 households. Of these, 101 families with 304 farmers are poverty-stricken.
“Six of the smaller villages still had no highways when I arrived in the village four months ago,” Hansen said.
“Now highway construction for five of the six smaller villages has been completed, linking them to other parts of Guangxi and the rest of the country.
“Construction of a highway to the remaining small village will be completed before the end of the year,” he said.
Hansen was attracted to Yizhou by its beautiful scenery and folk songs in the Chinese movie Liu Sanjie, about an Yizhou native of the same name who was known as the queen of local folk songs.
He used to live a leisurely life in Yizhou’s urban areas, walking his dog and having coffee in bars.
But Hansen said he was shocked when he was taken to Zhadong for the first time in March when the village Party chief, Xie Wanju, sought volunteers to help villagers plant passion fruit vines.
The natural scenery is very beautiful, but the villagers who remained were living very poor lives when most of the young people left to work elsewhere, Hansen said.
Zhadong villagers did not even have a road where they could ride their motorcycles. Many had to carry their agricultural products on their shoulders as they walked for several hours to bazaars to sell them, Hansen said.
Farmers could not transport their produce out of their village to sell due to the poor infrastructure at the time, he said, adding, “Zhadong lagged far behind the villages in Luxembourg.”
On recent weekdays, Hansen has been to the village with other volunteers led by Xie to plant passion fruit, and to build and repair roads and water conservation facilities.
Wei Yongyuan, a Zhadong official, said Hansen is honest, hardworking and kindhearted. He has been well accepted by many villagers and has encouraged locals to work hard to escape from poverty.
Wei quoted some villagers as saying: “Even a foreigner works hard to help us become rich. Do we still have any reason to continue to be lazy.”
Hansen added, “It is meaningful to be able to help the villagers out of poverty, and to be happy to live in such a beautiful place.”
In the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, residents’ lives in the Overseas Chinese Village in Kariz township, Qitai county, have been improving steadily.
This progress was achieved after the Overseas Chinese Office of the State Council and overseas Chinese offices at every level in the region took targeted measures in 2014 to alleviate poverty.
In the past two years alone, the Overseas Chinese Office of the State Council has invested more than 1.6 million yuan to build six new breeding centers, each occupying more than 300 square meters, in the village. It has also bought each household seven ewes to help them develop their livestock breeding business and increase their annual incomes.
All households are encouraged to become shareholders in a cooperative established to help them improve their lives and escape from poverty. Villagers are allowed a share of a year-end bonus, which the cooperative has promised to provide with at least 50 percent of its profits.
To increase employment, government departments have opened training courses for local women to learn traditional embroidery, and the village has established an embroidery association.
“Poverty alleviation efforts have achieved results, as the village can now develop by relying on its own industries and production, and local residents’ lives have increasingly improved in the past year,” said Yan Xiangsheng, Party chief of Kariz.
Zheng Caixiong, Zhao Ruixue, Li Lei, Mao Weihua and Shi Ruipeng contributed to this story.
in mid-August, many African officials said agriculture and infrastructure are key areas with potential for cooperation.
Emmanuel Freddie Mugunga, undersecretary of science, technology and innovation in Uganda, said during the tour, “We have lots of young people with lots of ideas, but they do not have the workplaces with shared facilities where they can go and concentrate and do things and get taught new skills.”
He called for increased cooperation in training young engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs.
Liu Kun contributed to this story.
Contact the writers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nico Rene Hansen, from Luxembourg, trims passion fruit vines in Zhadong village of Hechi in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, with the village Party chief Xie Wanju. Passion fruit is playing a key role in leading local residents out of poverty.
Nico Rene Hansen shares his thoughts on poverty alleviation efforts with villagers during a discussion held by village Party chief Xie Wanju in Zhadong village in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
Guests talk between sessions of the International Forum on Reform and Opening Up and Poverty Reduction in China, which opened in Beijing on Thursday.