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February 12, 2019

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Anti-poverty drive focuses on the 5 essential needs

CHINA will lift 10 million people out of poverty this year, to lay a solid foundation for winning the battle against poverty, the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided yesterday.

The year 2018 saw China launch its three-year battle against poverty.

Li has vowed to reduce the numbers of poor by 10 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.

According to the progress update at yesterday’s meeting, 13.86 million people were lifted out of poverty in 2018.

This is thanks to the dedicated efforts of local authorities and competent departments in implementing the decisions made by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council.

Figures from the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development show that the new approach of poverty relief by developing emerging industries in poor areas such as e-commerce, photovoltaics and country tourism has paid off.

Infrastructure development in poor areas has been accelerated.

Some 208,000 kilometers of rural roads were built or renovated in 2018. New progress was made in upgrading the power grid in poor areas. And 94 percent of the poor villages are now covered by broadband Internet services.

“We must strive to meet the poverty alleviation target for this year,” Li said.

“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.”

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

Increases in the poverty alleviation fund under the central government budget will be mainly channeled to these areas. Projects under the 13th Five-Year (2016-2020) Plan that help enhance the weak links of poor areas will be prioritized.

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

Counties that have emerged from poverty and their populations will remain eligible for related policy incentives till 2020.

Records of areas that fall back into poverty and the newly discovered poor will be promptly established to provide support.

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

“Every penny of the poverty alleviation funds must be used effectively and transparently.”

Meanwhile, China will further shorten the time required for the registration and approval of new cancer drugs as well as cutting prices, the meeting decided.

Experts will be gathered to select overseas new drugs to meet urgent clinical needs, while import policies will be improved.

The country will step up efforts to ensure more early diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and offer preferential value-added tax policies for drugs for the treatment of rare diseases.


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