The Manila Times

Elim­i­na­tion of ab­so­lute poverty his­tor­i­cal marker of new be­gin­ning

- Poverty · Society · Beijing · United Nations · Xi Jinping · G20 · China's State Council · Central Committee of the Communist Party of China · Communist Party of China · China · Guizhou

FEED­ING, cloth­ing and shel­ter­ing 1.4 bil­lion peo­ple is no easy j o b. But s ome­how China has man­aged to do i t. And, in so do­ing, it has be­come the first de­vel­op­ing countr y to ac­com­plish the poverty re­duc­tion tar­get of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment — and done it 10 years ahead of sched­ule.

The last nine im­pov­er­ished coun­ties in Guizhou province, ac­tu­ally the last in the whole of China, of­fi­cially shed their “na­tion­al­level poor county” la­bels on Mon­day.

That was a mile­stone of his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance, since not only have all the 66 State- des­ig­nated poor coun­ties in Guizhou, but all 832 across the coun­try that once car­ried that la­bel of­fi­cially bid farewell to ab­ject poverty.

The count r y has there­for e ful­filled its decades­long goal of elim­i­nat­ing ab­so­lute poverty.

As Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping proudly shared with other G20 lead­ers via video link the other day, lift­ing more than 700 mil­lion peo­ple out of poverty in a mat­ter of four decades has been no mean feat.

The achieve­ment is par­tic­u­larly con­spic­u­ous con­sid­er­ing that the re­main­ing poverty in re­cent years has been the most in­tractable. But lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have demon­strated their ca­pa­bil­ity to ful­fill na­tional pol­icy goals. The good news from Guizhou came de­spite the coun­try hav­ing to con­tend with the twin pres­sures from the eco­nomic down­turn and the novel coro­n­avirus out­break. In 2020 alone, 21 provinces and au­tonomous re­gions that were home to “poor coun­ties” waved adieu to poverty.

More im­por­tantly, the “de­ci­sive vic­tory” against poverty marks a great leap to­ward the ful­fill­ment of a key cen­ten­nial goal of build­ing a mod­er­ately well- off so­ci­ety in an all- around man­ner by this year’s end. Yet no praise should blind us to the fact that get­ting rid of the “poor county” la­bel in no way means poverty is a thing of the past.

The fight against poverty is a dy­namic process. We have plenty of sad ex­am­ples of peo­ple be­ing de­clared above the poverty line slid­ing back af­ter a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter or ill­ness. Our cur­rent poverty line is low. The achieve­ments made are pre­lim­i­nary and frag­ile.

The di­rec­tor of the State Coun­cil Lead­ing Group Of­fice of Poverty Alle­vi­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment warned in May that some lo­cal au­thor­i­ties had slack­ened ef­forts for poverty relief, and the in­comes of some res­i­dents who had found them­selves above the poverty line were stag­nat­ing, if not al­ready drop­ping.

Pres­i­dent Xi, for one, has urged lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to con­tinue help­ing those on low in­comes even af­ter their coun­ties have got rid of the poverty la­bel. And it should never be for­got­ten that not all peo­ple in need of as­sis­tance live in coun­ties with “poverty” la­bels.

The com­mu­niqué of the Fifth Ple­nary Ses­sion of the 19th Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China pointed out that it is nec­es­sary to raise the in­come level of the peo­ple, build a high- qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and im­prove the mul­ti­level so­cial se­cu­rity sys­tem, so as to en­hance peo­ple’s sense of gain and hap­pi­ness.

The 14th Five-Year Plan ( 202125) will set out specifics of how the poverty erad­i­ca­tion achieve­ment is to be con­sol­i­dated.

 ??  ?? Farm­ers en­joy a light mo­ment with chilis har­vested in Zunyi, Guizhou province.
Farm­ers en­joy a light mo­ment with chilis har­vested in Zunyi, Guizhou province.

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