Premier Li calls for more efforts to achieve poverty reduction target

China’s Premier Li Keqiang yesterday called for increased efforts in the nation’s poverty reduction campaign.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang yesterday called for increased efforts in the nation’s poverty reduction campaign.

In a message to a meeting in Beijing on east-west poverty reduction collaboration, he said the campaign was at a critical stage and government agencies should keep up the fight for progress.

Results have been seen over the past year as the government increased help for developed eastern regions and underdeveloped western ones to cooperate by providing support in funding, personnel, technology and industrial development, he said. But more work was needed to bring growth to poor regions.

Vice Premier Wang Yang, who attended the meeting, said east-west collaboration needs strengthened in line with the poverty reduction target.

The two sides should expand cooperation to more sectors with more innovative measures, he said.

Eastern regions will make more room for industrial development while western regions can quicken the pace of poverty eradication, Wang said.

China has set 2020 as the target year to complete the building of a “moderately prosperous society,” which requires the eradication of poverty.

As of the end of 2016, there were 43.35 million people living below the country’s poverty line of 2,300 yuan (US$350) of annual income as constant with 2010 prices, accounting for about 3 percent of China’s population.

To achieve the target, China needs to bring more than 10 million people out of poverty every year.

According to global experience, the most difficult phase in poverty eradication is when the population living in poverty accounts for less than 10 percent of the overall population.

“The task has become more difficult and costly as the process approaches its end,” Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, said yesterday.

He was delivering a report on poverty relief work on behalf of the State Council at the ongoing bimonthly session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.

China lifted an average of 13.9 million people out of poverty each year from 2012 to 2016, and the annual per capita income in impoverished rural areas has grown 10.7 percent every year, according to the report.

“The State Council has always put a lot of effort into poverty relief. The government work reports in the past four years all promised to lift at least 10 million out of poverty,” Liu said.

From 1978 to 2016, about 730 million Chinese people had been lifted out of poverty.

The report noted that 775,000 officials had been sent to impoverished areas for poverty relief work.

The central government’s spending on the cause had increased from 39.4 billion yuan in 2013 to 86.1 billion yuan in 2017, it said.

China also established a national database collecting information on impoverished people since 2014. It records the distribution of the impoverished population, the reasons for poverty and the needs of impoverished people.

Liu said 2017 is an important year to achieve the target.

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