China uses Internet to lift rural regions out of poverty

By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/28 23:38:40

Website helps collect donations, set up e-commerce shops

As part of efforts to lift 43 million people out of poverty, China is harnessing the power of the Internet in a groundbreaking online initiative. 

To make full use of the "Internet Plus" to involve people from all walks of life in helping the poor, the State Council established an online platform in July, called Social Participation in Poverty Alleviation and Development.

With five sub-platforms, which include giving donations, an online store and crowd funding, the platform can be accessed online and via a mobile app, or on WeChat. Users can browse the website to find people or a family they wish to help.

According to the website, it had published 544,892 requests for help and gathered over 23 million yuan ($3.45 million) in donations as of press time. 
To expand online services to rural areas, cities across the country have pledged to promote the website to alleviate poverty. For example, starting Monday, the poverty relief office of Hengyang, Hunan Province began to mobilize its employees to register the information of poverty-stricken households and villages.

After checking for authenticity, the information will be uploaded to the online platform. The office has vowed to register all poverty-stricken families before 2018. 

Training courses on instructing government employees to register and use the platform as well as reviewing and publishing the information have been held across the nation.

Promoting local agriculture

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said online services should play a bigger role in reducing poverty by promoting agricultural goods produced by impoverished people and by making high-quality education accessible to more children in remote mountainous regions via the Internet, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is one of the regions to have used e-commerce to boost the local economy.

"In the past two years, Xinjiang's e-businesses have developed rapidly and many local residents have benefited from poverty relief measures boosted by the Internet. For example, e-commerce provides residents in southern Xinjiang with the opportunity to introduce their products, such as cotton, walnuts and rice, to the rest of the country. It not only helps avoid gluts of these products due to remote geographic locations and lagging logistics systems, but also attracts more buyers to sign bulk purchase agreements," Huang Changhui, director of the Yuli county e-business association, told the Global Times.

Huang said that e-commerce also helped alleviate unemployment, as many have started to earn good incomes by acting as an agent for these products. "An agent can earn 3,000 to 5,000 yuan a month," Huang said.

Targeted efforts

During his visit to Chongqing municipality in January 2016, Xi said the success of development-oriented poverty relief lies in "precise and targeted poverty alleviation efforts."

"To ensure precise and targeted poverty alleviation, the local government rules that any officials who are relatives of poverty-stricken families must take responsibility for helping their families out of poverty. My uncle, who works in the government of a township, can't get his salary until my family succeeds in shaking off poverty," a resident surnamed Ma from a rural village in Henan Province told the Global Times.


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