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New poverty reduction approach benefits more
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16:56, July 18, 2007

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"China has so far transferred 2.6 million rural labors to cities," said Liu Fuhe, spokesman for the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

Since its reform and opening in 1978, the Chinese government has spared no effort to eliminate poverty within three stages, according to Liu.

From 1978 to mid-1980s, the government adopted the "blood transfusion" poverty eradication method: the central government allocated food, clothing and cash to the poor to tide them over in difficult times.

However, although poverty relief efforts have been further strengthened; this method failed to satisfy the needs of the poor, and shortcomings of the method became more apparent. Many were trapped in poverty again once the government stopped providing aid for them. Then, the Chinese government realized that the traditional "blood transfusion" approach would not solve the problem.

After 1986, the Chinese government executed a development-oriented poverty reduction policy. Since then, the Chinese government has set in motion a large-scale, nationwide, development-oriented poverty reduction drive. Allocations to fight poverty each year have reached 14.4 billion Yuan.

China''s work to help the poor has entered a new period: from the traditional "blood transfusion" approach to a new one which aims to enhance the skills of the poor and their capability in finding jobs in cities.

Liu Fuhe said that current poverty relief work, also in its third stage, can provide dual guarantees for the needy and the poor. For instance, the minimum living allowance system can guarantee basic needs for the elderly, disabled and others unable to do physical labor. The Dewdrop Project, which began in 2004, provides free vocational training to young farmers and older people from poor rural areas; and helps them find jobs in cities.

Since the new approach was first carried out, China has achieved remarkable progress assisting in the development of the poor areas. According to Chinese statistics on poverty, the population of the rural poor with problems obtaining sufficient food and clothing has decreased from 250 million in 1978 to 21 million at the end of 2006. Rural poverty has dropped dramatically from 30.7 percent in 1978 to 2.3 percent in 2006.

Between 2000 and 2004, the net income of Chinese farmers in 592 poverty-stricken counties increased by 23.9 percent year-on-year.

"In addition to exploring natural resources and labor resources in poverty-stricken areas, the government should invest in road construction, power generation and water conservation in these areas. If a rural infrastructure was not be maintained, we would still being living in poverty," said Liu.
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