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China's victory against poverty appreciated

By Zamir Ahmed Awan (People's Daily Online)    14:50, September 23, 2020

It is astonishing to know that, according to a World Bank report, there are around 1 billion people who earn less than 1.90 US dollars per day and are living in extreme poverty, with half of the world population living under the poverty line, roughly earning only 2.5 US dollars per day.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted and increased the number of people pushed under the poverty line, especially in developing and underdeveloped countries, which have no sufficient social welfare support programs.

A staff member makes embroidery works at a handicraft making cooperative in Aketao County of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Sept. 20, 2020. Over 6,000 residents have relocated to the relocation settlements in Aketao County from less hospitable areas in the deep Kunlun Mountain. In response to the employment of relocated residents, local authorities have put great efforts into developing the traditional handicraft industry, as a way to support the poverty alleviation efforts. (Xinhua/Gao Han)

Poverty is a curse, and the United Nations (UN) has realized this threat to humanity. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015 by the UN, is the most comprehensive and ambitious poverty reduction plan the world has embarked upon. All countries have devised their policies to address this issue and take concrete measures to eradicate it.

Achieving success in eradicating poverty, China has become a leader in poverty elimination. China aims to eliminate extreme poverty and complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects in 2020.

China's achievements and efforts in eradicating poverty have not only contributed to the global cause of poverty reduction but also set an example of practical importance to the international community.

Over the past seven decades, China has successfully lifted 850 million people out of poverty, accounting for more than 70 percent of global poverty alleviation. At the end of 2019, the number of underprivileged people in China's rural areas fell to 5.51 million from 98.99 million in 2012.

China has set a new benchmark, and the rest of the world may follow it. If eradication of poverty can be achieved in such a big and formerly impoverished nation like China, other countries can do it as well.

China is willing to share its valuable experience to overcome poverty and extends all possible cooperation to any friendly and needy nation.

Up against the damage COVID-19 has already done to the global economy, causing further poverty around the world, China has not only brought COVID-19 under control but is trying its best to restore the routine economic activities to minimize financial losses caused during the pandemic. After gaining specific achievements, China is in a position to help other nations revive their economies. As almost half of the nations across the world have joined the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China's mega strategy aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes, some are already beneficiaries of the BRI.

While China's accomplishments in achieving the poverty reduction goal set by the UN 10 years in advance are highly appreciated among sensible countries and the UN, there are a few adversaries who are not able to digest the country’s achievements and unnecessarily criticize China.

China continues to play a proactive role in global cooperation, such as offering help to the poverty-reduction efforts of other countries via providing material, financial aid or personal support, international organizations, such as the United Nations Development Programme and the World Food Programme.

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has praised China's national development and success in implementing the SDG, saying it was integral to global gains in the field.

As always, unilateralism and protectionism pose a stumbling block in the global cause of poverty reduction. The world should remain sober and realize that only through open cooperation can we embrace joint development, which is the fundamental way to wipe out poverty.

China's poverty reduction efforts will never end, as alleviating poverty in all forms still remains a long-term cause for the whole world. Thus it is indispensable for countries to tackle this common challenge facing humanity with strong political wills, targeted policies, and close international cooperation. 

The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to People's Daily Online.

Zamir Ahmed Awan is a senior fellow with the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan. E-mail: [email protected]

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