China lifts 13.86m rural dwellers out of poverty in 2018


China lifted 13.86 million people in rural areas out of poverty in 2018, the National Bureau of Statistics on Friday said.

The country saw the number of impoverished rural residents decline from nearly 100 million in late 2012 to 16.6 million by the end of 2018, the NBS said.

In 2018, the average annual income of rural residents in impoverished areas rose to about 1,530 dollars (10,371 yuan) with an inflation-adjusted year-on-year growth of 8.3 per cent.

People whose annual income is lower than 2,300 yuan are defined as living below the poverty line in China.

Official figures show that China’s poverty relief achievements have contributed more than 70 per cent to global poverty alleviation work in the past 40 years.

China aims to eradicate poverty by 2020, the target year to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

The country will continue to work vigorously to reduce poverty and lift no less than ten million people out of poverty in 2019, to lay a solid foundation for winning the battle against poverty, a State Council executive meeting decided on Monday.

The year 2018 saw China launch its three-year actions in fighting the battle against poverty.

The State Council Executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Monday to reduce the poor population by ten million each year in all his government work reports over the past five years.

He gave specific instructions on ways to push forward this work and to better manage the poverty alleviation funds.

Figures from the council had shown that the new approach of poverty relief by developing emerging industries in poor areas such as e-commerce, photovoltaic and country tourism has paid off.

Infrastructure development in poor areas has been accelerated.

Some 208,000 kilometres of rural roads were built or renovated in 2018.

New progress was made in upgrading the power grid in poor areas.

And 94 per cent of the poor villages are now covered by broadband internet services.

“We must strive to meet the poverty alleviation target for this year. Making poverty history by 2020 is the solemn commitment our Party and government have made to the people.

We must fulfill this commitment by ensuring full delivery of all related policies and consolidating the progress we have made,” Li said.

It was decided at the meeting that efforts will be intensified this year to help the deeply poor areas.

Increase in the poverty alleviation fund under the central government budget will be mainly channeled to these areas.

Projects under the 13th Five-Year Plan that help enhance the weak links of poor areas will be prioritised.

The meeting urged to stick to current standard, and the cross-regional pairing arrangements for poverty alleviation will be enhanced.

The difficulties poor people face in meeting the five essential needs of food, clothing, compulsory education, basic healthcare and a place to live will be tackled down to every household.

Counties that have emerged from poverty and their populations shall remain eligible for related policy incentives by 2020, the final-stage year in fighting poverty.

Records of those, who fall back into poverty and the newly discovered poor will be promptly established to provide them support.

The meeting urged to cut the poor population by another ten million this year to lay a solid foundation for winning the final battle against poverty.

“We must strictly enforce the poverty criteria involving the five essential needs of food, clothing, compulsory education, basic healthcare and a place to live.

“Every penny of the poverty alleviation funds must be used effectively and transparently,’’ Li said.