China strives to meet prosperity deadlines

Poverty alleviation should be a highlight at the annual legislative session as China is closing in on its goal of becoming a moderately prosperous society in 2020.

Rinqen Tongdru, Party chief of Debo County in Gansu Province, on the eastern margin of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, is looking forward to the important political meeting next month.

Rinqen will be among the 2,980 national lawmakers at the annual legislative session, during which the issue he cares about the most — poverty alleviation — should be a highlight, as the country is closing in on its goal of becoming a moderately prosperous society in 2020. 

The poverty alleviation campaign in his county has compiled profiles of poor villagers since 2013.

“We try to understand the particular conditions of individuals, and make plans accordingly,” Rinqen Tongdru said. “For example, we found one village where it was easy to grow the cash crop angelica, so the government grew some and that encouraged the farmers to grow it, who were then offered loans and training,” he said.

A total of 11,334 rural people have made the step up out of poverty in Rinqen’s county, lowering the poverty rate from over 34 percent to 6 percent. “There are still over 2,000 people to go. Helping them within three years is a task for the whole county,” Rinqen said.

Lifting all people out of poverty is the baseline of the endeavor. A total of 68.53 million rural people over the past five years have seen their fortunes transformed, with the national poverty rate falling from 10.2 percent to 3.1 percent. 

This year alone, China will lift 10 million people out of absolute poverty, including 2.8 million who will be relocated.

“China’s remarkable progress in reducing extreme poverty has significantly contributed to the decline in global poverty,” noted Hoon S. Soh, World Bank Program Leader for economic policy for China.

Chen Fengying, a research fellow at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said: “Poverty alleviation embodies the Chinese approach to human rights.”

There has been a major impact on the distribution of national income, said Chen, noting that the ultimate goal of poverty alleviation is to avoid the middle-income trap.

Besides rooting out poverty, other key tasks include doubling GDP and per capita income from 2010 levels. After decades of development, a large middle-income population has emerged in China, perhaps the biggest in the world, giving rise to a vast domestic market.

As the world’s largest source of outbound tourists, Chinese people made over 131 million overseas trips last year. As a top market for products such as automobiles and clothes, China saw its imports volume surge 18.7 percent in 2017.

In November, the China International Import Expo in Shanghai is expected to attract thousands of enterprises from more than 100 countries.

Along with poverty relief, financial risks prevention and pollution control have been identified by the Chinese leadership as “tough battles” to fight before a moderately prosperous society can be established.

To make the sky bluer and the waters clearer, the country has been intensifying its efforts in pollution control.

China has passed its toughest-ever environmental protection law, and introduced a “river chief” system to protect water resources. It is also pushing ahead with the efforts to draw the ecological “red lines.”

On January 1, China started collecting the environment protection tax in order to cut pollutant discharge.

China’s economic restructuring will improve the quality of growth and reduce dependence on resources, easing the burden on the environment, said Wang Yiwei, a professor at Renmin University of China.

China has been countering the climate change and honoring the Paris Agreement. It will be involved in global environmental governance and fulfill its commitment on emission reduction, according to the report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

A moderately prosperous society cannot exist without a stable financial market. The parliamentary session is expected to work out policies against irregular and illegal practices in the finance industry. Deputies will be aware of the rising importance of China in the world economy, especially the spillover effects of China’s economy.

Throughout 2017, Chinese authorities have taken real steps to curb widespread malfeasance in the rapidly expanding financial market. Banks, insurance and securities companies have received heavy fines for flouting market rules, and Internet finance companies once prospering on easy profits are having a difficult time to survive with enhanced rules. 

As China’s economic growth accounts for over 30 percent of the global growth, a healthy Chinese economy contributes significantly to the world.

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