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Wen calls for further efforts to help the poor

By He Dan (China Daily)

08:31, May 28, 2012

Wu Jiayu, an 88-year-old farmer from Central China’s Hunan province, never expected that Premier Wen Jiabao's work schedule would include sitting in his shabby house and asking him and his fellow villagers what the government can do to improve their livelihoods.

But over the last weekend, the unimaginable happened.

From May 25 to 27, Wen went to villages in the Xiangxi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture in Hunan province to study how poverty has affected local people's lives and how the government can pull them out of their economic plight.

Farmers told Wen that although starvation is no longer a problem, low incomes and a weak social security network create many challenges, such as being unable to afford the cost of treatment for serious diseases at hospitals.

Wen urged local officials to improve infrastructure to boost the local tourism industry, as well as carry out more water conservancy projects to reduce the harm caused by natural disasters.

He also stressed that the prefecture's government should work hard to expand the coverage of basic social services to more people.

"We must concentrate on enhancing the quality of medical services in community-based and village-based clinics and hospitals," he said.

In addition, he asked local authorities to improve the teaching conditions in rural schools, with more attention on improving the accommodation and dining facilities for students in remote areas.

The central and provincial governments will guarantee sufficient funds for the region to reduce poverty, Wen pledged.

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