Fan Xiaojian, the director of the State Council Poverty-Elimination Office, said that in the last 30 years, China has made headway in its poverty alleviation programs. He explained China's poverty elimination project at the China-ASEAN Social Development and Poverty Shake-Off Forum. In the countryside, the population in absolute poverty dropped to 21.5 million in the year 2006 from 250 million in 1978. The poverty visibility rate has fallen from 30.7% to 2.3%. The low-income population decreased to 35.5 million in the year 2006 from 62.1 million in 2000; and now accounts for 3.7% of the rural population (previously 6.7%). In 6 years, China has reduced the number of its poor by 10.5 million at an average of 1.8 million per year.
Path to Poverty Elimination with Chinese Characteristics
China's achievements in shaking off poverty are vital to the development of the national economy, as well as to the improvement of people's living standards.
In particular, while promoting economic development; China also implements large-scale, well-organized poverty elimination programs that consider China's national situation.
Fan also said that the way to shake off poverty with Chinese characteristics lies within the leadership of the government, social involvement, self-reliance, poverty elimination by development, and all-around development.
- The leadership of the government regards poverty elimination as an important task for social and national economic development.
- Social involvement calls upon different social sectors to organize and work for development and construction in poverty-stricken areas; and to run a variety of poverty elimination programs and activities. The sectors include related international organizations and international NGOs. The project is funded by a $610 million investment from the World Bank; and aims to assist 8 million people.
- Self-reliance aims to support people living in poverty-stricken areas, and encourages them to transform their backward situation through their own efforts. Self-reliance also defines efforts to transform poor villagers' ideas and values, and promote their autonomy through poverty elimination and development programs.
- Poverty elimination by development aims to enhance personal gain and personal development in poverty-stricken areas and among poor people. The program will introduce new farming methods and technology, and will offer training in a variety of skills and fields.
5. All-around development combines the development of natural resources and human resources, poverty elimination, and ecological and environmental construction.
Accelerate the World's Pace in Poverty Alleviation
According to China's 2007 Poverty Elimination and Development Report and the latest worldwide poverty data from 1990 and 2002 from World Bank – against a standard of living of one dollar a day – China's population living in poverty has decreased by 195 million. This accounts for over 90% of the total decrease in the world.
On top of that, China is active in alleviating global poverty. The Chinese government and the UNDP (UN Development Program), along with other international organizations, set up China's International Poverty Elimination Center in May 2005. The center acts as the platform for international poverty elimination training, communication, and research. It has trained 191 high- and middle-ranking poverty elimination experts for 58 countries and organized 7 successive international poverty elimination exchange conferences. In addition, China has invited nearly one hundred poverty elimination experts, practitioners and researchers from different countries and international institutions to China for exchanging, learning, and studying experiences in poverty elimination.
"While carrying out our own development, China will offer its help to other developing countries and promote mutual development,"said Fan.
Actively respond to the Future Challenges
China's poverty elimination and development also faces many challenges. The challenges consist of a large impoverished population base; the uneven development of regions, such as between urban and rural areas; poverty-stricken areas that are lagging behind; and the increase of poverty-inducing factors.
In the following 3 years, China's poverty elimination and development program will make the following a priority: resolving food and clothing issues for the poverty-stricken population in rural areas; improving entire villages; making network TV and radio broadcasting available in administrative villages; building roads in villages where physically feasible; making electricity available in less developed villages; and improving the drinking water and medical conditions for local people and livestock.
"China will be active in the cause for global poverty elimination, and further enhance cooperation with related countries and international organizations. China will attach importance to sustainable economic growth; lay out more global poverty alleviation strategies; build up anti-poverty strategic partnerships; and work together to upgrade development capabilities and eliminate poverty,"Fan remarked.
By People's Daily Online