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China soon to be marvel in fight against poverty

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-07-22 11:15


Escaping poor economic conditions would be a goal for anyone in such difficulty, while in a broader perspective, countries strive for poverty eradication. Statistics from the World Bank show a decline in the number of extremely poor people globally, reduced from 1.85 billion in 1990 to around 736 million in 2015. In the corresponding period, China had achieved a milestone, lifting 602.7 million people from poverty, accounting for 54 percent of the worldwide numbers reported by the World Bank. According to the World Bank, the category of extremely poor people includes those living on $1.90 a day or less.

China’s efforts to eliminate poverty have been based on persistent struggles and policy lines, and President Xi Jinping brought about remarkable progress in this movement. The president approved different strategies including targeted poverty alleviation, pairing up strategies, accelerating the development of Internet Plus strategies, and resettlement programs. All these actions resulted in getting closer to achieving the ultimate goal of zero poverty or absolute poverty eradication in the country.

First, the targeted poverty alleviation strategy has focused on industrial development, relocation, environmental compensation, education and social security. For this, an institutional system was established to oversee the overall stages in reaching set goals such as registration, policy, investment, assistance, social mobilization, and all-around supervision and assessment.

Second, the pairing up strategy allowed impoverished provinces to gain assistance from the more developed provinces of the country, as the east is more developed compared to the west. Therefore, the east had to contribute to the west of the country to ensure the pace of development.

Third, the Chinese government has also accelerated the development of Internet Plus strategies to reach the goal of combating poverty. For example, 5G network installation is underway; in fact it has reached remote and high-altitude areas in the country, such as Xinjiang, while, e-commerce giant Alibaba has established e-commerce centers better known as Taobao villages that encourage online sales of farm products and local specialties of rural areas. With such initiatives the rapid development of internet-based operations and services accelerates the anti-poverty fight.

Fourth, the resettlement program has focused on the relocation of remote populations into recently developed cities in the country. Under this program, in last four years China had to relocate over 9.81 million people from ecologically fragile areas to newly developed cities or close to existing developed cities.

The world’s largest poverty alleviation campaign in history is bearing fruit in rural areas of China, with people’s living standards rising at a rapid pace. The overall poverty eradication campaign focused on developing local industries, healthcare, education and curbing corruption, which resulted in successfully lifting more than 68 million people out of poverty in isolated areas over the past five years alone. In essence, China had achieved the goal for driving the national poverty rate down from 10.2 to just 3.1 percent. And in the near future, as President Xi stresses absolute poverty eradication, the number will reach zero, creating a miracle and example for the whole world.

In order to reach the goal of making a moderately prosperous society, China still has around 52 counties, 2,707 villages and 5.51 million people who are to be lifted out of poverty. So, the fight continues with persistent efforts by the Chinese leadership toward realizing this goal. According to China's National Bureau of Statistics data, the rural population in poverty declined significantly from 98.99 million at the end of 2012 to just 5.52 million in 2019. The Chinese government has made concrete plans for the remaining 5.52 million people, including investing more than $4 billion.

The COVID-19 pandemic crippled economic activity around the world. It was also a major hurdle for the successful completion of China’s anti-poverty drive but statistics show that 97 percent of businesses related to poverty relief had already resumed work in full, while 82 percent of relief projects have been fully resumed and over 95 percent of workers have returned to the workplace. Just as China won the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the victory against poverty is close to being realized. For this very reason, the whole world is keenly observing China’s efforts in fighting against poverty.

Many world leaders and officials lauded China’s tireless efforts to overcome obstacles including poverty.

China's achievements in poverty alleviation have been acknowledged by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said that China has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, and its experience can provide valuable lessons to other developing countries.

To conclude, the Chinese government, leadership and nation have shown to the world that with consistent efforts every goal is achievable. If all of them were on the same page as China, every obstacle in the path toward development could be overcome.

The author is a journalist based in Pakistan, and has graduated from the Communication University of China in International Journalism.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.

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