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Complete victory urged in poverty battle

(China Daily)    09:16, October 19, 2020

A farmer dries grain in Matian, a village in Zuoquan county, Shanxi province, on Saturday. All households in the village were lifted out of poverty at the end of 2018 thanks to local authorities' targeted poverty alleviation measures. CAO YANG/XINHUA

President Xi Jinping has urged continuous efforts to win a complete victory in the battle against poverty as China marked the seventh National Poverty Relief Day on Saturday.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark in an instruction on poverty relief work.

He said that 2020 is the decisive year in completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and eradicating poverty nationwide.

Facing the challenges of COVID-19 and severe floods, the CPC Central Committee is unwaveringly determined to achieve the goal of poverty alleviation as scheduled, he said.

Xi urged Party committees and governments at all levels to maintain the momentum and never stop until the country secures a complete victory, as the fight against poverty has entered its final stage.

He noted that all localities and departments should give full play to the system and mechanism of poverty alleviation, while keeping policies stable and consolidating the results with multiple measures.

Meanwhile, efforts should be made to stimulate the endogenous driving forces of poverty-stricken populations and areas in order to advance toward the goal of realizing common prosperity, he said.

The instruction was delivered on Saturday at a national teleconference, at which China honored individuals and institutions with a national award for their outstanding work in poverty alleviation.

The award-winning individuals and institutions delivered reports on their work at the meeting.

Yang Ning, head of Jiangmen village in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and one of the award winners, said the annual per capita income in her village more than tripled to 7,000 yuan ($1,045) over the past few years, thanks to targeted poverty relief programs that have fostered a lucrative business by growing cash crops such as watermelons and mushrooms.

That has also slashed the poverty rate in Jiangmen from 20 percent to nearly zero, said Yang, who returned to work in her home village after graduating from college in the regional capital of Nanning in 2010.

"The transformation of my village is representative of what has been achieved by the national poverty reduction campaign," she said.

Zhang Zhiqiang, Party secretary of Sixian county, a poverty-stricken area in Anhui province, said that to win the local anti-poverty campaign the county sent more than 300 young and capable officials to oversee poverty relief work at village level.

He said the sacrifice and devotion of these officials has paid off, with 17,000 farmers returning to their home villages due to greater job opportunities and the county being lifted out of poverty in 2018. More than 16,000 villagers were lifted out of poverty due to jobs created by the stronger local economy.

"For the past three years, Sixian has ranked among the top 100 counties in China in terms of investment," he said.

Poverty has plagued China for thousands of years. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, and especially since the start of reform and opening-up in 1978, the anti-poverty battle led by the CPC has improved the lives of more than 700 million rural people.

Xi assumed the historic responsibility of leading this fight when he was elected general secretary of the CPC Central Committee at the First Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in November 2012.

He has convened a series of meetings on poverty alleviation. Before every such meeting, he would visit impoverished regions to conduct research, learn about local situations and hear the opinions of grassroots officials and members of the public.

At a landmark Party gathering in Beijing in 2012, the central authorities launched a new round of the anti-poverty drive that aimed to use targeted measures to eradicate extreme poverty in China before 2021, the Party's centenary. In 2012, 98.99 million people in China lived below the poverty line.

China has defined extreme poverty as having a per capita income of less than 2,300 yuan a year.

The poverty line-set in 2011 and adjusted annually with inflation-reached more than 4,000 yuan this year. The amount varies from place to place due to purchasing power parity.

The authorities have also made efforts to achieve universal coverage of compulsory education, affordable healthcare and clean drinking water in less affluent rural regions.

The head count of rural poor has been dropping by more than 10 million annually since 2012 thanks to the redoubled efforts under President Xi.

The State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, the top anti-poverty agency, said more than 93 million people had been lifted out of absolute poverty by the end of 2019, which has won praise from politicians and scholars worldwide.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said China made the greatest contributions to world poverty alleviation in the past decade.

By ending domestic poverty by the end of this year, China will achieve the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals in poverty relief 10 years ahead of schedule.

Ismatulla Bekmuratov, a professor at Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies in Uzbekistan, attributed China's poverty reduction success primarily to the attention of Xi, who made poverty eradication a centerpiece of the country's development plan and led the war against poverty.

Yuri Tavrovsky, a Sinologist and professor at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, said under Xi's leadership, China's anti-poverty fight has notably gathered pace. Defeating poverty before the CPC's 100th founding anniversary will lay the foundation for the realization of the Chinese Dream, he said.

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

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