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Xi Focus: Leaving no one behind in China's poverty eradication

(Xinhua)    15:09, May 13, 2020

BEIJING, May 13 (Xinhua) -- China aims to eliminate absolute poverty this year. With only 200-plus days left, the battle now is in its final push to help the poorest of the poor change their fate.

Poverty alleviation has always been a primary concern for President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, who said that "no single poor area or individual shall be left behind."

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in late 2012, China has achieved the best results in its history of poverty reduction. More than 93 million rural people shook off poverty in the seven years from 2013 to 2019.

But there were still 5.51 million people in poverty by the end of 2019. The already formidable task was compounded by the COVID-19 outbreak.

When Xi inspected Shanxi Province this week, he urged efforts to overcome the adverse impacts of the epidemic to ensure that the target of poverty eradication is reached.

So far this year, Xi has visited the fields and homes of peasants in the provinces of Shanxi, Shaanxi and Yunnan to learn their personal stories of beating poverty.

FROM DAYLILY TO BLACK FUNGUS

While in Shanxi, Xi visited a daylily farm and talked to peasants working in the fields.

Xi said he was pleased to learn that in recent years, thanks to the guidance of major enterprises and cooperatives, the farm achieved a stable output of quality edible daylilies with a guaranteed market and price, helping lift a number of impoverished households out of poverty.

Xi said daylily farming and processing can develop into a big industry with great prospects and stressed giving full play to its role in poverty alleviation.

Rural industries are key to keeping people who have been lifted out of poverty from falling back in, he said.

When Xi visited northwest China's Shaanxi Province last month, he inspected local rural industries as well.

Impressed by how black fungus can help local villagers beat poverty, Xi gave his thumbs-up, saying: "Small fungus, big industry!"

Xi also commended the potential of e-commerce in marketing agricultural products. "It has a huge role to play," he said.

OUT OF MOUNTAINS, OUT OF POVERTY

While in Shaanxi, Xi entered the home of Wang Xianping in Pingli County. The Wangs are a typical relocated family.

They used to live in a mud house on high mountains where living conditions were harsh.

Thanks to the government's help, they were moved to a new three-bedroom apartment in town that cost the family only 10,000 yuan (1,410 U.S. dollars).

Xi asked Wang about his family's income, schooling, medical care and social security conditions in detail.

Wang told Xi that the community has started electronics and toy factories. Both Wang and his wife found jobs near their new home, so that they can better take care of their elderly family members.

Across China, more than 9.6 million poor people have been relocated to more inhabitable areas over the past couple of years, getting access to more job opportunities and better public services.

Xi said relocation is essential for people in inhospitable areas to achieve strides in development. It is also an important approach to win the fight against poverty.

He stressed the importance of securing employment for relocated people to settle down in their new homes, make a living and not fall back into poverty.

LOOK BEYOND

"What is your expectation now that your family has been lifted out of poverty?"

Xi raised the question to the family of Li Fashun, a pig farmer in southwest China's Yunnan Province, during a visit in January.

Sitting down at a square table with Xi, the farmer replied that a better life for his elders and good jobs for his children are all he expects in the future.

Li's village is named Simola, which in the local Wa language means the place of happiness.

"As you have cast off poverty and are marching toward new goals, our country will do the same," Xi told Li and his fellow villagers.

After China achieves building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, it must make all-out efforts to advance rural vitalization to further address issues such as the urban-rural imbalance, Xi said.

Rural industries will be boosted, as well as the rural economy, to allow more and more villagers to work near home, increase their income and lead a better life, he said.

"Being lifted out of poverty is not an end in itself but the starting point of a new life and a new pursuit," Xi said at a poverty alleviation symposium in early March.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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