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Thursday, October 19, 2000, updated at 10:21(GMT+8)

China Makes Significant Progress in Poverty Relief: Legislator

China has made significant progress in its efforts to eradicate poverty, a senior Chinese legislator said in Jakarta Wednesday.

"Poverty relief through development is a major strategic decision gradually identified and confirmed by the Chinese government in the course of reform and opening-up over the past two decades and more," Wu Jinghua, Vice Chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee of China's National people 's Congress told the ongoing 104th Conference of Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU).

Briefing representatives from more than 120 countries on the status quo and practices in terms of poverty relief in China, Wu said since the founding of new China, all-round progress has been made in China's economy and society.

By 1985, he said, the size of the rural population living in poverty was cut back to 125 million from 250 million in 1978, and the percentage of poverty-stricken population dropped to 3.7 percent of the total rural population, from 30.7 percent in 1978.

"We expect to lift another 10 million people out of poverty by the end of this year and by then China will have only over 20 million poverty-stricken population," Wu said.

Despite the encouraging achievements in poverty relief through development, there are many salient problems facing China and it remains a major challenge for the country to reduce and eliminate poverty, Wu stressed.

Being a developing country, he said, except those metropolitan cities and the coastal areas, the entire China will for a long time to come find itself in an underdeveloped stage, and particularly so for the rural areas. "This is a reality that will not lend itself to an easy solution for a prolonged period of time, " he added.

Therefore, poverty relief through development will remain a long-term, assiduous and complicated historical challenge for the Chinese government and people.

The IPU meeting, attended by 1200 delegates from more than 120 countries, began on Sunday and will last to October 21. The Chinese delegation is headed by Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the China's National People's Congress, Xu Jialu.

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China has made significant progress in its efforts to eradicate poverty, a senior Chinese legislator said in Jakarta Wednesday.

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