Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- China’s top leadership on Saturday pledged resolute
measures to help the remaining 70 million poor people shake off poverty
and enjoy essential social services by 2020.
Major tasks for governments over the next five years will include
ensuring the poverty-stricken people to have enough to eat and wear, and
to enjoy compulsory education, health service and housing, according to
a two-day high-profile conference on poverty alleviation and
development, which ended Saturday in Beijing.
Identifying poverty alleviation still "an arduous task," President Xi
Jinping told the conference that "no single poor region nor an
individual living in poverty will be left behind" when the country
accomplishes the goal of "building a moderately prosperous society" by
2020. Xi urged governments at all levels to carry out more targeted and
precise measures to ensure the poor people in rural areas have access to
food, clothes, basic education, medical care, and safe home. p
Per-capita disposable income of farmers in poor areas should grow in a
pace faster than the national average, and basic public services for the
areas should almost be up to the national average criteria.
Local governments and officials, particularly those of underdeveloped
regions, should make poverty alleviation the top priority in the next
five years’ work, Xi demanded. Priority should be given to the
improvement of rural infrastructure, including roads, access to water,
power and Internet, Premier Li Keqiang said during the conference. The
conference laid out concrete and diversified measures in poverty relief.
Industrial development is key to poverty alleviation, Xi said. Local
resources should be well utilized to develop industries and ensure
employment for the jobless peasants. Ecological protection should be
enhanced in poor areas, and the poor with labor abilities could be
trained to serve as forest rangers and other workers for ecological
conservation, Xi said. The conference also demanded national expenditure
on education should be expanded in poor areas, and special care should
given to left-behind children. Tuition fees and relevant expenditures
should be waived for senior high school students from poor families, and
major universities should recruit more students from poor areas. Social
welfare system should provide basic living conditions for those
impoverished without working abilities, Xi said.
Fiscal expenditure will be increased on poverty relief, and private
investment as well as people from all walks of life are all encouraged
to join the battle against poverty, Xi said. Preferential tax policies,
loan interest subsidies, and other kinds of favorable financial
incentives will be provided to encourage financial institutions to offer
more innovative products for poverty alleviation.
Over the past three decades some 700 million rural residents across
China shook off poverty. China was the first developing country to meet
the Millennium Development Goals target of reducing the population
living in poverty by half ahead of the 2015 deadline. China’s experience
in poverty alleviation could be used in helping the world complete the
poverty reduction target through cooperation with other nations and
foreign aid, analysts said.
At the end of last year, China still had 70.17 million people in the
countryside living below its poverty line of 2,300 yuan (376 U.S.
dollars) in annual income by 2010 price standards.
The conference was attended by senior leaders of the Communist Party
of China (CPC) Central Committee and the central government, and major
provincial-level officials. It was the first such high-level meeting
held after the Fifth Plenum of 18th CPC Central Committee, which had
promised to root out poverty by 2020. Officials from all relevant
departments at different levels were asked to sign a responsibility
statement to pledge that they will complete poverty alleviation targets
or face punishment if they fail. Local governments will face strict
annual assessment of their performance in poverty elimination and
punishment will be meted out to those that embezzle money earmarked to