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Targeted poverty relief: China's way to achieve prosperity

(CGTN)    08:41, March 01, 2021

China officially announced its victory in eradicating absolute poverty on Thursday. Targeted poverty alleviation, a strategy of tailoring relief policies to different local conditions, has played a key role in the country's poverty reduction cause.

The concept was put forward in November 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he visited Shibadong, a Miao ethnic minority village, nestled in the mountains of central China's Hunan Province.

Poverty relief should be "meticulous like doing embroidery," rather than akin to "killing fleas with a hand grenade," said Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

China explored a slew of targeted and scientific alleviation measures, which requires officials to identify actual impoverished people and the factors that caused their poverty.

A large legion of capable officials has been selected to guide poverty relief work. For example, officials with business savvy were sent to poverty-stricken villages, while officials with specialized industrial knowledge were sent to villages with an industrial base. As a result, each household or even family member has been given a bespoke poverty relief plan.  

Poverty relief assistants Liu Ying (1st L) and He Changle (2nd L), as well as village officers, help carry melons planted by villagers in Dongqin Village, Congjiang County of southwest China's Guizhou Province, November 11, 2020. /Xinhua

China also targeted different policies to different regions, including developing business, relocating the poor, compensating farmers in ecologically fragile areas, encouraging education and improving social security. Moreover, a list of top 10 poverty alleviation projects was introduced including reducing poverty through e-commerce, tourism, and photovoltaic power generation projects.

A woman promotes kiwi fruits via livestreaming in Changputang Village in Liaojiaqiao Township, central China's Hunan Province, September 10, 2020. The village was lifted out of poverty in 2016. /Xinhua

The government also motivated businesses, individuals, NGOs and even the military to carry out relief plans. Wealthier provinces were designated at least one less-developed province to provide special guidance and assistance.

Xi has been emphasizing that "no one should be left behind on the road towards Xiaokang ( a moderately prosperous society in all respects)."

Despite the unprecedented impacts brought by COVID-19, China accomplished its poverty alleviation target of the new era in November 2020 on schedule. It has lifted 98.99 million poor rural residents out of poverty under the current poverty line, with 832 impoverished counties and 128,000 poor villages removed from the poverty list, achieving the poverty reduction target of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule.  

Given China's large population, its victory against absolute poverty is also a significant contribution to the global cause of poverty reduction and set a pioneering example to the international community, especially when the raging COVID-19 pandemic is dragging an increasing number of people into poverty across the world.

According to the World Bank, the pandemic is estimated to push an additional 88 million to 115 million people into extreme poverty in 2020, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by 2021.

In a message to the Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum held in Beijing in 2017, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: "Targeted poverty reduction strategies are the only way to reach those farthest behind and achieve the ambitious targets set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. China has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, and its experiences can provide valuable lessons to other developing countries." 

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

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