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Gansu Party chief expresses confidence in eliminating poverty

By LI LEI | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-06-05 15:43

A farmer in Gansu province is busy harvesting potatoes. [PHOTO BY WANG JIANG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Top officials from Gansu province are confident it will reach its zero-poverty goal by the end of next year, the national deadline, a news conference in Beijing was told on Wednesday.

The display of faith by one of China’s least developed regions is noteworthy amid the nationwide effort to eliminate absolute poverty in time for the centennial of the Communist Party of China in 2021.

Lin Duo, Gansu’s Party secretary, said poverty relief will be the focus of government work and no effort will be spared to ensure the province becomes a moderately prosperous society, alongside other regions.

Relief officials have been sent to every registered impoverished households to make sure they can afford food and clothing, as well as their children’s basic education, safe housing and healthcare, he said.

Efforts will also be made to prevent those lifted out of poverty from falling back into it, Lin added.

“We are both determined and confident about achieving the goal,” he said.

Lin was speaking at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office to detail Gansu’s progress over the 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Gansu has long been one of the country’s most underdeveloped regions.

Provincial government figures show it was home to 12.54 million rural poor in the early 1980s, before China launched programs to develop its vast northwestern regions, and had a poverty rate above 75 percent.

Gansu is also home to several major deserts, and its lack of water has been a constraint on development for decades, adding to difficulties in poverty alleviation.

But Lin said Gansu has made notable progress on that front, especially since the central leadership stressed in 2013 that the province give priority to relief work.

Among other measures, relief funds have been used to help farmers develop industries ranging from cattle husbandry to growing medicinal herbs, in a bid to provide sustainable income, he said.

By the end of last year, 5.81 million people living in rural parts of the province had shaken off poverty, with the poverty rate plummeting to 5.6 percent.

“Thirty-six of 75 poverty-stricken counties saw their underdeveloped labels removed last year, a leap forward to the zero-poverty goal,” Lin said.

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