BEIJING — Chinese government has earmarked 13.5 billion yuan (US$1.89 billion) this year for poverty alleviation in regions plagued by deep-rooted issues, the most difficult part of the country's fight against poverty, a senior official said on Friday (September 27).
These areas, mostly home to a mosaic of ethnic communities, are scattered across western China, including the Tibet autonomous region, the southern part of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and several autonomous prefectures in Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan and Gansu provinces, according to Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, the top poverty reduction agency.
The regions have seen notable progress in living standards over the last few years, as the central government pumped billions of yuan and enormous human resources into relief efforts there.
Some 12 billion yuan, or 60 per cent of the central government's annual relief funds, was injected into the regions last year. The fund this year will account for 65 per cent of the national total, he told a news conference in Beijing held to mark achievements since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
The central and local governments have also ramped up efforts to supply the regions with muchneeded talent.
"Let's take Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province as an example. The provincial government sent 5,700 officials to villages within the prefecture to aid its development," he said, adding progress was obvious.
Liu Yongfu, head of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, speaks at a news conference in Beijing on September 27. — China Daily/ANN
Figures provided by Liu's office showed that the regions were home to 3.05 million impoverished people at the beginning of 2018, which was slashed by 1.33 million by the end of last year, dropping at double the average pace of other western regions.
China had almost 100 million poor farmers in 2012, when the central government renewed its push for a poverty-free society by the end of 2020.
To that end, the central government in recent years has embraced poverty relief efforts through targeted measures. Under the new rules, grassroots officials were barred from merely handing out money to needy families without finding ways to help them attain a sustainable income.
To remove the poverty label of local communities, relief officials need to ensure access to safe housing, tap water, basic health services and compulsory education－in addition to crossing the annual per capita income threshold of 2,300 yuan, which was set in 2010 and adjusted annually for purchasing power parity.
The director said China has lifted almost 82.4 million residents out of poverty since 2012. It also removed the poverty label for 436 counties, meaning their poverty rate dropped below 3 per cent. — China Daily/ANN