By Chen Xilai, Chargé d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy
ENDING poverty is the first of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. China had secured a comprehensive victory this year in the fight against poverty, with 98.99 million rural residents in poverty all shook off poverty, which is an outstanding and historic achievement in the Chinese history and even the human history. On April 6, China released a white paper titled “Poverty Alleviation: China’s Experience and Contribution”, fully introducing how the Communist Party of China united and led the people across the country to alleviate poverty and protected people’s right to development, an inalienable and deep-rooted human right.
No one shall be left behind
As the ancient Chinese philosopher, Guanzi said, “the key to governance of a country is to improve its people’s lives.” The CPC has been staying true to its original aspiration and founding mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. It keeps emphasising that no single poor region or single poor person should be left behind in the campaign against poverty. Millions of poverty relief officials were selected nationwide and dispatched to live in the front line of the poor villages and to find a way for the poor families to get rich. Mao Xianglin, the CPC secretary of Xiazhuang, a remote village of Chongqing Province, spent seven years leading all villagers to dig a path road from the cliffs and connecting Xiazhuang to the outside world. Through their efforts, impoverished households said goodbye to untreated water and can drink clean water now, and left the mud thatched cottages for the bright and spacious brick houses.
Eradicating poverty through development
Poverty alleviation requires a change of attitude and the support of education, which can only be achieved through development. China mobilised support for poverty alleviation from various sectors including government authorities, state-owned and private companies and civil societies, and stimulated the impoverished areas by “teaching people how to fish” instead of “giving people fish”. In Suixi, Anhui Province, the governmental resident working team of poverty alleviation helped the villagers to build greenhouses for succulent plants as a revenue- generating programme. They were provided rent reduction, tax incentives, planting training and live streaming sales opportunities. In Zhejiang Province, hundreds of Taobao Villages emerged with the support of the local government. Lu Lin, a villager from Beishan, Zhejiang, suffers from muscle atrophy disease and has been unable to walk since he was a child. After he was trained to open an online store selling outdoor equipment, he can now support both himself and his mother.
China’s contribution to the global poverty reduction
To get rid of poverty is a main focus and a great challenge of global governance. Hundreds of millions of people will fall into extreme poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. China has taken an active part in global poverty management and shared its experience with other countries to build a global community of shared future that is free from poverty and pursues common prosperity. According to a World Bank study, the “Belt and Road” initiative will help 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty and 32 million out of moderate poverty in the related countries. Chinese farmers from Yunan Province taught the visiting representatives from Indonesia, Laos, and others, hand in hand about the co-farming model of rice and fish. The 24 agricultural technology demonstration centres built by China in Africa have benefitted more than 500,000 local people. A UNDP survey shows that moderate poverty households in Guyana declined from 43 per cent to 36.3 per cent in seven years, and extreme poverty dropped from 28.7 per cent to 19.1 per cent. But poverty alleviation in Guyana did not end. As a long-term friendly development partner of Guyana, China is willing to cooperate with Guyana for the national development of the two countries and the holistic human development of the two peoples.