China Focus: Xi leads China to win world's biggest poverty-relief battle
BEIJING, June 2 (Xinhua) -- With Xi Jinping in charge, China's poverty-relief battle, the world's biggest and toughest, has made decisive progress and provides global poverty relief with Chinese wisdom and solutions.
The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee reviewed a plan on Thursday on continued efforts in poverty alleviation.
Presided over by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, the meeting stressed that the battle against poverty is one of the "three tough battles" that the country must win to build a moderately prosperous society by 2020. To achieve the goal, China needs to lift around 30 million poor rural residents out of poverty in the next three years.
"We must be aware of the difficulties and challenges in winning the battle, and must have a stronger sense of responsibility and urgency in poverty relief," said a statement released after the meeting.
Poverty relief has always been on the top of the government agenda. In Xi's own words, "On the march towards common prosperity, no one must be left behind."
During a symposium on poverty alleviation in Chengdu in February this year, Xi said decisive progress has been made as China has made unprecedented efforts .
He attributed the success to the CPC's leadership, targeted strategies, strong financial support, and strict requirements for poverty elimination works.
Over 68 million people have been lifted over the poverty line -- per capita annual income of 2,300 yuan (361 U.S. dollars) -- in the past five years, with an average of 13 million each year.
As of the end of 2017, China had 30.46 million poor residents. China aims to eradicate absolute poverty by 2020, roughly 10 million each year.
During the past five years, the average annual income of rural residents in impoverished areas has risen 10.4 percent each year, up 2.5 percentage points above the average for rural residents.
About 3.4 million impoverished population has moved into new homes since 2012, and houses of more than 6 million poor population have been renovated.
China's poverty rate has dropped from 10.2 percent in 2012 to 3.1 percent in 2017, becoming the first country to complete the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals.
To realize the goal of eliminating extreme poverty in the rural areas by 2020, China is carrying out a basic strategy of targeted approach, which requires officials of all levels to identify who the actual impoverished people are and the factors that led to their poverty.
Each household or even family member is given a bespoke poverty relief plan.
In the past five years, more capable and suitable officials have been selected to guide poverty relief work at different levels. 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.
Besides, China has adopted various means to reduce poverty, including e-commerce, financing, tourism, relocation and improvement of infrastructure.
A total of 2.74 million impoverished families saw their income increased thanks to e-commerce poverty relief programs in the past five years, and 23,000 impoverished villages have benefited from tourism programs.
Nevertheless, in the eyes of Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, the poverty relief task was still arduous.
The work will shift to areas hit the hardest by poverty, put more emphasis on quality, and be more targeted and precise, Liu said. "We will work to foster local industries, create new jobs, relocate residents in poor areas...and strengthen aid to the aged, the disabled and people who are seriously ill."
The achievements China has made in poverty alleviation have not only helped the development of its own human rights endeavor, but also greatly contributed to that of the international community with Chinese wisdom and solutions, and has been lauded globally.
China has realized "the most rapid large-scale poverty reduction in human history over the last 25 years," said a 2016 World Bank document, which was released after the World Bank's one-year research of worldwide poverty reduction efforts in partnership with the Chinese government.
"We should not forget the fact that China has contributed the most in world poverty alleviation in the past decade," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last year about China's poverty reduction achievements.
William Jones, Washington bureau chief of the Executive Intelligence Review news magazine, said ending poverty had long been regarded a major task for humanity, but until recently was seen as a "utopian dream."
"With China, that dream is now becoming a reality," he said.