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China strives to eradicate extreme poverty

Author  :  WU NAN, DUAN DANJIE and ZHANG YIXIN     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2020-03-19

Farmers pick up tea leaves at a tea garden of a poverty alleviation demonstration base in Baisha Li Autonomous County, south China's Hainan Province, Feb. 27, 2020. (Xinhua/Guo Cheng)

President Xi Jinping on March 6 stressed overcoming the impact of COVID-19 to clinch a complete victory in the fight against poverty.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks at a symposium on securing a decisive victory in poverty alleviation stressing that lifting all rural residents living below the current poverty line out of poverty by 2020 is a solemn promise made by the CPC Central Committee, and it must be fulfilled on time.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has achieved decisive accomplishments in poverty alleviation, coming close to the target. The number of impoverished people has decreased from 98.99 million in 2012 to 5.51 million in 2019, with the poverty headcount ratio dropping from 10.2% to 0.6%.

If we achieve the goal of lifting all rural residents living below the current poverty line out of poverty and eliminating poverty in all poor counties and regions, that will mean eradicating absolute poverty in the whole nation for the first time in history, said Zhang Qi, director of the China Institute for Poverty Reduction at Beijing Normal University.

Talking about the current difficulties facing poverty alleviation, Sun Jiuwen, a professor from the School of Economics at Renmin University of China, said that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, firms have delayed resumption of work or even shut down after the Lunar New Year Festival, reducing incomes in the central and western regions of China, especially for migrant workers from poverty-stricken areas. In addition, the epidemic has hindered industrial development in poverty-stricken areas to varying degrees, and the fragility of industry in these areas requires that they receive assistance as soon as possible to repair the damage.

Lu Hanwen, dean of the Institute for Poverty Reduction and Development in Central China at Central China Normal University, suggested subsidizing, according to headcount, employers who quickly receive workers from poor households. Even greater subsidies should be given to those who employ impoverished workers from areas hit hard by the epidemic.

Stabilizing employment is key to winning the victories of epidemic prevention and control and the fight against poverty, said Wang Dehua, a research fellow from the National Academy of Economic Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. To resume work and production amid proper epidemic prevention and control, Wang suggested that corporate management specialists and epidemic prevention experts work together to set guidelines.

In addition, Wang suggested that there should be further efforts to promote the employment of the impoverished. This year, we must adopt a number of macroeconomic policies to ensure that economic development reaches a reasonable rate. We need to ensure that poverty reduction infrastructure, industrial projects and employment support policies are implemented.

It is necessary to vigorously promote people-oriented urbanization and enhance employment capacity, employment creation capacity and public service capacity, Wang continued. He suggested promoting rural vitalization projects to improve production and living conditions in some rural areas.

Editor: Yu Hui

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