CHINA More counties escape poverty

CHINA

More counties escape poverty

China Daily

09:45, March 03, 2020

CPC official urges efforts to be made to overcome coronavirus' impact on areas

All impoverished counties in nine provincial-level areas have recovered as of February, helping China get one step closer to completing this year's goal of eliminating poverty nationwide.

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A herdswoman from a cooperative milks sheep in Rutog county of Ngari prefecture, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, Aug 4, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)

The areas include Chongqing, Tibet autonomous region and the provinces of Hebei, Heilongjiang and Hainan, according to the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

In general, in order for a county to no longer be considered impoverished, its poverty rate must be below 2 percent. For western China, where there are more deeply poverty-stricken areas, the rate must be below 3 percent.

"We must resolutely win the fight against poverty, while unrelentingly preventing and controlling the epidemic in poverty-stricken areas," Hu Chunhua, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and leader of the State Council poverty alleviation group, said during a news conference on Thursday.

He said efforts should be made to overcome the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on the country's poverty alleviation work.

Such measures will include prioritizing employment support for poor laborers, solving difficulties in sales of agricultural and livestock products in poor areas and supporting poverty alleviation industries in their efforts to resume production, Hu said.

As of the end of last year, China had about 5.5 million impoverished rural residents, down by 11 million year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

All the rest will be relieved from poverty this year, according to a circular released last month.

Now that all the counties in Hebei have shaken off poverty, policies for supporting their development will be continued in an effort to consolidate the achievements and prevent the emergence or reemergence of poverty in those areas, according to a notice issued on Saturday by the provincial government.

The notice said that the province's last 13 impoverished counties and one district were removed from the poverty list in February.

Hebei is one of the provinces where poverty is abundant. In the past, it had 62 poor counties with nearly 5 million people living in poverty, according to a report by Hebei Daily.

One of those counties was Fuping, located in a mountainous area in Baoding, about 200 kilometers southwest of Beijing. In 2014, the county had nearly 110,000 people living in poverty, with a poverty rate of 54 percent, according to the local government.

By the end of last year, the number of impoverished people had dropped to 832, and the poverty rate had fallen to 0.45 percent thanks to years of efforts developing suitable industries, including eco-tourism and Chinese medicinal planting.

"Life has become much easier for us," said 73-year-old Tang Zongxiu, who has lived his whole life in Luotuowan village in Fuping. Her family's income has seen a big jump in the past few years, either from working at locally developing companies or from subletting land.

In 2019, the average annual income of residents in the county reached 9,800 yuan ($1,050), up from 3,262 yuan in 2012, according to the local government.

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