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Explainer: China’s battle against poverty

Abstract : China has vowed to eliminate absolute poverty by the end of this year, 10 years ahead of the poverty-eradication schedule set by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

BEIJING, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) — China has vowed to
eliminate absolute poverty by the end of this year, 10 years ahead of
the poverty-eradication schedule set by the United Nations 2030 Agenda
for Sustainable Development.

As the clock ticks towards the deadline, what progress has China
achieved? How is poverty defined? How is the country fulfilling this
goal? What are the future challenges? Here are some explanations.

REMARKABLE PROGRESS

China has recently achieved the feat of removing all remaining counties from the country’s poverty list.

Southwest China’s Guizhou Province announced last week that its last
nine impoverished counties had been lifted out of absolute poverty,
which means all registered impoverished counties in the world’s most
populous country have shaken off poverty.

Over the past 40-plus years of reform and opening-up, more than 700
million people in China have been lifted out of poverty, contributing
more than 70 percent of the global reduction in poverty.

The country’s success in poverty reduction has been complimented by
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called the achievements “very
strong.”

POVERTY STANDARD

Since the start of reform and opening-up in 1978, China has adjusted
the standard for absolute poverty several times to keep it in line with
the country’s social and economic development.

The current rural poverty line is 2,300 yuan per person per year at
the 2010 price level. The specific figure is subject to adjustment as
the country’s price levels change. In 2019, the poverty line was 3,218
yuan (about 490.61 U.S. dollars).

Considering factors such as purchasing power parity and China’s
urban-rural price gap, such a standard is higher than the World Bank’s
extreme-poverty benchmark of 1.9 U.S. dollars per person per day,
according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

China’s poverty-eradication standard, in fact, cannot be defined by
income numbers alone. Besides lifting annual income, the country’s basic
poverty-eradication campaign also helps to ensure that the poor have
sufficient food and clothing, as well as access to compulsory education,
basic medical services and safe housing.

FIGHTING POVERTY WITH STRATEGIES

To achieve the goal of eradicating absolute poverty, China has
pledged to prioritize the development of agriculture and rural areas,
and to fully advance rural vitalization in its new development stage.

The country is improving the quality, efficiency and competitiveness
of agriculture, carrying out rural-development initiatives, and giving
rural construction an important position in socialist modernization.
Efforts are also being made to deepen rural reforms, through which the
country is expected to improve the integrated urban-rural development
mechanism.

Meanwhile, it has strived to reduce rural poverty with technological
innovations that help boost agricultural production. In the past five
years, China has focused on the technical bottleneck of the agricultural
industry and promoted more than 50,000 new varieties and technologies
to increase the quality and efficiency of this industry in poor areas.

Additionally, continued efforts have also been made to safeguard the
employment of the poor, with more than 90 percent of the registered
poverty-stricken population having received support in employment or
benefited from poverty-relief policies through industrial development in
rural areas.

MORE WORK TO BE DONE

Although China is on track to eradicate absolute poverty by the end
of 2020, tackling relative poverty will be a long-term task. Therefore,
the country needs to take measures to further bolster its achievements
in tackling poverty, said Ou Qingping, deputy-director of the State
Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, at a
press conference Wednesday.

Ou also stressed efforts to optimize the monitoring-and-assisting mechanism to prevent people from falling back into poverty.

After winning a complete victory against poverty, the country will
allow a transition period during which policies and assistance to help
the poor will remain unchanged, with the overall stability of its
measures being maintained. Follow-up work in poverty-alleviation
relocation will be stressed, while the rural social-security and relief
system will be improved, Ou said.

The country is formulating more measures to promote rural
vitalization, while consolidating poverty-reduction achievements, Ou
added. Enditem

About Xinhua Silk Road

Xinhua Silk Road (en.imsilkroad.com) is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) portal.China’s silk road economic belt and the 21st century maritime silk road website,includes BRI Policy, BRI Trade, BRI Investment, Belt and Road weekly, Know Belt and Road, and the integrated information services for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Source: Explainer: China’s battle against poverty

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