Workers make seasoning products in a factory in Yusitunke Auikule village in Awati county of Aksu Prefecture in Northwest China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region on Friday. Many of the workers are from poor households in the village. (Photo: Global Times)
Many counties in Aksu Prefecture, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have taken more measures to help poverty-stricken people, including bringing in industries to promote employment when poverty alleviation work in Xinjiang has entered a crucial stage.
A total of 486,200 people living in poverty-plagued places in southern Xinjiang were lifted from poverty in 2018 and the rate of poverty incidence decreased from 22.28 percent in 2017 to 12.71 percent in 2018, according to data from the poverty alleviation office in Xinjiang.
In line with China's poverty criteria, which were updated in 2011, a farmer is recognized as poor if his or her yearly disposable income is less than 2,300 yuan ($339).
The regional government of Xinjiang will still focus on poverty alleviation work in southern Xinjiang to make sure that 606,100 people and 976 villages can be rid of extreme poverty in 2019, according to Xinjiang Daily.
Counties in Aksu, one prefecture in southern Xinjiang, have strengthened poverty alleviation efforts.
Kalasa village in Wensu county provided a cow and eight sheep to poor households and encouraged them to join farm cooperatives where they can give these animals to specialized keepers and get 15 percent of the valuation of their animals every year.
A total of 54 households in extreme poverty joined farm cooperatives in 2018 and received nearly 1,000 yuan at the end of the year.
"By joining the farm cooperatives, villagers could also save time to go out of the village as migrant workers," Liu Yong, head of the working group stationed in the village, told the Global Times.
According to data from the village, the village has cooperated with more than 10 companies nearby to offer jobs to villagers.
Nearly 200 villagers work in factories outside with a monthly salary of about 2,000 yuan. The total income of migrant workers in the village could reach 4 million yuan a year.
In Tuowanke Maigaiti village in Qianjin town, low-income villagers have been encouraged to cultivate edible fungus or learn different vocational skills to start their own business.
The working group stationed in the village had helped build a row of shops where villagers could take driving lessons, learn electric soldering skills and make cakes and embroidery.
To strengthen the management of grass-roots level Party organizations and push forward the poverty alleviation work in villages, the Xinjiang regional government has deployed more than 43,700 officials in five waves to 1,000 villages.
Li Keqiong, head of the working group, said that villagers who perform well in learning these skills could run their own business in the shop and train apprentices.
Yuermeti Ruzi, 26, who is an excellent student at the electric soldering class, now teaches other villagers and runs his own business, including making steel shelves or hand-made beds.
"Sometimes when business is better, I can earn 4,000 yuan a month now," Ruzi said with a shy smile, noting that he did not have a stable income previously.
Planting vegetables in a scientific way and developing relevant industries is also an important way to enhance villagers' incomes.
The working group in Tuowanke Maigaiti village has encouraged six poor households to cultivate edible fungus, helping them each earn 8,500 yuan within two months.
The village also has a factory to produce fruit-based plant nutrient sticks to aid the growth of edible fungus. It plans to bring an automation line for making the sticks, which is expected to produce 20,000 sticks per day.
To promote the business of planting edible fungus, the village also registered a trademark to sell its fungus.
Orders of 20 tons of the fungus under the trademark have been made with companies in Xinjiang and companies from other provinces also intend to order 30 tons of the products.
Not all the poverty work can smoothly proceed, especially in southern Xinjiang which had suffered from extremism, according to officials reached by the Global Times.
Some poor people who have been influenced by extremism have less motive and willingness to rid themselves of poverty.
Their daily life heavily depends on government subsidies and they are "proud" of reaping without sowing, according to Wang Xin, head of the working group stationed in Yusitunke Ayikule village in Awati.
Wang said that aside from trying to eliminate the influence of extremism, they make a public rating form - to praise villagers who earn better through diligent work and offer them awards.
"The rating system has efficiently encouraged villagers to rid themselves of poverty," Wang said.
To accomplish targeted poverty alleviation work in Aksu, officials at different levels are required to pair up with poor people as relatives and regularly visit them to help with problems and difficulties in their daily life.
Officials from Wushi county told the Global Times that they are using an app to help with poverty alleviation.
After registering on the app, officials check information from the poor people they are supposed to help, including reasons for their poverty.
They use the app to record their visits to their paired relatives, the problems they have solved and the latest poverty alleviation policies.
"I am responsible to help six poor people get rid of their poverty… I sometimes use my money to buy grape seeds for them and pay their children's travel fees for school. Frequent meetings with each other have made us real relatives," said Azigul Abudurusul, head of the publicity department of Wushi county.
Other measures to facilitate poverty alleviation include using louder speakers to promote favorable government polices including how to apply for special funding and project for poverty alleviation in villages.
Cracking down on corruption and discipline violation cases in poverty alleviation is also a key step.
According to a press release from the poverty alleviation office in Wushi county, it has investigated and punished 25 officials who violated discipline, did not fully implement relevant polices or were involved in embezzling poverty alleviation funds. A total of 183,000 yuan from the special funding was recovered.