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China shares experience in poverty relief

Li Lei
Updated: Apr 07,2021 07:04 AM    China Daily

Countries racing to curb dire poverty are advised to formulate relief plans based on conditions on the ground and to adopt a "scientific" attitude while deciding the poverty thresholds, aims and strategies for their own campaigns, a Chinese official said on April 6.

"That's because every country and region faces different conditions, and decisions must be based on their actual situations," said Wang Zhengpu, head of the National Administration for Rural Vitalization, which was inaugurated in February, replacing the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, the former top antipoverty agency.

The Communist Party of China advanced the decadeslong poverty reduction campaign in the world's most populous nation "step by step" with "continuous efforts", and its tailor-made approach is among the "invaluable experiences" that underpin its success, Wang said at a news conference. He responded to media questions about how China's poverty relief experience could serve as a reference for other countries.

China pulled more than 770 million rural residents out of dire poverty after its embrace of wide-ranging reforms in 1978, according to a white paper titled "Poverty Alleviation: China's Experience and Contribution", which was released on April 6. It said the number of Chinese who escaped poverty accounted for more than 70 percent of the world's impoverished people in that period, measured by the poverty threshold set by the World Bank.

President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, announced in February that China had scored a "complete victory" in its fight against absolute poverty.

Xu Lin, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and minister of the State Council Information Office, said that the white paper offers a "panoramic view" of the country's prolonged poverty reduction cause.

"The practice of poverty reduction in China shows that poverty is not destined, nor is poverty invincible," he said.

Summing up the experience that other nations wish to emulate, Wang said the accomplishments were made possible because of several key factors, such as the Party's "people-centered" philosophy and its commitment to the task, the country's sustained economic growth and the wide involvement of nongovernment players in the fight.

"These are the political, institutional and organizational strengths of the CPC," he said.

This year also marks a watershed for China's rural policies. Before, the central authorities had prioritized poverty reduction in the vast countryside as part of a broader effort to build China into a "moderately prosperous society in all respects" by the CPC's centenary this year.

As China has achieved success in eradicating absolute poverty, the country has embarked on vitalizing its rural areas — a task that is central to the nation's modernization drive, which will continue up to midcentury.

To prevent large-scale backsliding into poverty, Wang said, the new administration will keep monitoring the income levels of still vulnerable families.

"The principles are early identification, early intervention and early assistance," Wang said.

Also being watched are their access to safe homes, compulsory education, affordable healthcare and clean water — benchmarks that had been adopted to track poverty reduction progress in addition to the monetary poverty threshold of 2,300 yuan ($351) annual per capita income. That threshold was set more than a decade ago and adjusted annually for inflation. Hong Tianyun, a deputy director of the administration, said it fits China's situation.

The administration has created a five-year transition period during which the favorable policies adopted in the poverty-reduction era will be kept in place.

Officials have made pledges to support industrial development in less-developed regions and maintain support from across the whole of society.

Hong said at the news conference that follow-up assistance is of utmost importance among the 9.6 million impoverished rural residents who moved out of isolated hamlets between 2016 and last year, the scale of which is globally unprecedented.

More vocational training will be rolled out for them and efforts will be made to develop local industries that can create jobs that fit with the local demographics and boost community services, he said.

"We'll work to bolster the sense of belonging and happiness among settlers," he said.

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