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Ancient ideas could illuminate poverty fight
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10:34, October 07, 2007

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ANTWERP, Belgium: Insights from Confucianism and Taoism could inform the government's anti-poverty policies and help narrow the widening wealth gap between the haves and have-nots both in China and Europe.

A group of scholars, lawmakers and representatives of non-governmental agencies from China and Europe reached this conclusion at a group discussion of wealth and poverty during the biennial China-Europe Forum.

The forum, which ran from Thursday until Friday in 25 European cities, consisted of 46 workshops on major economic, social, environmental and political topics. More than 300 Chinese and 800 European delegates attended the workshops. This weekend, the delegates will gather in Brussels to attend plenary sessions.

Professor Luo Guoxiang of Wuhan University, in Central China's Hubei Province, said economic development had created "many billionaires in terms of wealth, but also many beggars in terms of social responsibility".

"We should go back to China's traditional values, such as caring for others, to improve the situation," said Luo.

He added that strong cultural and social beliefs would provide a sound foundation for a harmonious society.

For their part, the European delegates said it was important to balance material and social concerns in the fight against poverty.

"That also partly reflects the situation in Europe," said Marc Van Boven, deputy chairman of UNICEF Belgium.

China is home to 23 million people living in absolute poverty in rural regions. And a growing number of the unemployed and migrants are suffering from relative poverty in urban areas because of inadequate social security services.

"Poverty is a complicated issue in China," Zheng Gongcheng, a member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, said.

"Some are poor because they lack food and clothing, and some cannot have access to education and healthcare opportunities."

Source: China Daily



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