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March 3, 2021

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China’s achievement in poverty alleviation offers hope for global victory over privation Cooperation

DESPITE a raging pandemic and tough economic challenges, China clinched victory in eradicating absolute poverty last year, achieving the poverty reduc­tion goal set by the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development a decade in advance.

The hard-won feat, which came after decades of unremitting efforts by the world’s most populous country, bears hope and inspiration for countries worldwide that are also searching for ways to eliminate destitution as well as promote equality and development.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Gu­terres said China’s poverty reduction experiences “can provide valuable les­sons to other developing countries.”

Here are the three major ones:

First and foremost, China’s struggle for poverty alleviation epitomizes the people-centered philosophy of the Chi­nese government.

Facing the numerous obstacles posed by COVID-19, the Chinese government did not push back its goal of lifting all rural residents out of poverty by 2020. Instead, it has managed to deliver its solemn promise to the Chinese people on time. In 2020, all of China’s nearly 100 million impoverished rural residents liv­ing below the current poverty line cast off poverty after eight years’ efforts. Moreover, people in 98 percent of poor villages in areas of extreme poverty now have broadband access, which has vastly narrowed the urban-rural digital gap.

At the same time, China has built 1,290 innovation and entrepreneurial platforms in poor areas and sent 289,800 sci-tech experts to rural areas since the 18th National Congress of the Commu­nist Party of China in 2012.

Over the years, many foreign scholars have been trying to decipher the “code” of poverty alleviation in China. Their views can be summarized as “5Ds”— Determined Leadership, Detai led Blueprint, Development Oriented, Data-based Governance and Decentralized Delivery, according to “Chinese Poverty Alleviation Studies: A Political Economy Perspective,” a report published by New China Research, a Chinese think tank.

Indeed, the poverty reduction accom­plishment is an outcome of a continuous drive that combines proper planning, a clear goal, and long-term, sustainable solutions. Back in 2012, the Chinese gov­ernment announced its first centennial goal of finishing the building of a mod­erately prosperous society in all aspects by the end of the decade.

To meet the target, both the central and local authorities have carried out an array of customized plans and targeted measures for different localities, and of­fered the “teaching-one-to-fish” kind of assistance to the impoverished, so that they can capitalize on their strength to get rid of deprivation.

Those measures include launching workshops and recruitment campaigns, setting up online platforms for selling agricultural products from poverty-stricken areas and developing tourism for mountainous villages.

‘A growth story’

It’s thus understandable why Martin Riser, country director for China at the World Bank, once called China’s poverty reduction “a growth story.”

It is believed that the success of Chi­na’s poverty alleviation efforts depends on a strict, standardized, quantified and transparent poverty alleviation process that is consistent across the country, according to Robert Lawrence Kuhn, chairman of the Kuhn Foundation.

To make sure that those who have been lifted out of poverty will not be snapped back into impoverishment, China has also decided to set a five-year transi­tion period for counties already out of poverty and gradually shift the policy focus toward comprehensively promot­ing rural vitalization.

Last but not least, China’s strenuous poverty eradication efforts are aimed, in essence, at ironing out social inequality step by step, so as to ensure stability and build a fairer and more inclusive society. For regions mired in deep poverty, the Chinese government has mobilized a host of resources and pool strengths to improve services in education, health­care, housing and drinking water, so as to narrow the wealth gap between remote, less developed areas and cities, as well as to ensure that the poor can also get a share of the dividends of a moderately prosperous society.

Today, poverty remains a chronic and complicated problem facing hundreds of millions worldwide as wealth gap and the North-South divide continue to grow. And the root cause lies in the world's expanding development deficits.

The international community should work together to promote global coop­eration in poverty alleviation, so as to close the divide between developed and developing countries, boost common development for humanity and push forward economic globalization in a more open, inclusive, equitable and bal­anced way.

China’s historic progress in poverty eradication has renewed the hope that terminating privation is possible as long as real and effective actions are taken.

The author is a Xinhua writer.


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