China issues white paper on poverty alleviation to share experience
In retrospect, CPC’s 100-years' eradicating extreme poverty valuable tips for developing regions: experts
Published: Apr 06, 2021 10:03 PM
Individual and collective model poverty fighters are honored during a grand gathering that is held to mark the country's 
accomplishments in poverty alleviation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday.  Photo: Xinhua

Individual and collective model poverty fighters are honored during a grand gathering that is held to mark the country's accomplishments in poverty alleviation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 25. Photo: Xinhua

In a white paper issued Tuesday, China has detailed its rich experience in poverty alleviation from the past century since the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1921. China's experience is to be shared in an effort to contribute to global poverty reduction, which experts said fully demonstrates China's pursuit of common prosperity and its key factors in eradicating poverty, including continuous and targeted poverty reduction plans implemented by the CPC.

The white paper indicates China's willingness to be an advocate, facilitator and contributor to the international cause of poverty reduction, given that China, which accounts for nearly one-fifth of the world's population, has achieved its poverty reduction target set out in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule.

China will ramp up efforts toward building a global community of shared future, free from poverty and blessed with common prosperity, said the paper. Analysts pointed out that China's pledge to be more open and to contribute to a better world has important significance amid the growing isolationism advocated by some countries.

The white paper was released more than one month after China declared a complete victory in eradicating absolute poverty in China during a national commendation conference held on February 25. It was a milestone that marked a new development phase for the country. 

By 2050, a year after the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, China will become a great modern socialist country in every dimension, achieving its Second Centenary Goal, which is to build a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful.

The First Centenary Goal is to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the time the CPC marks its centenary in July 2021.

A miracle in human history

China achieved victory in the largest-scale battle against extreme poverty worldwide, as shown by the facts that 98.99 million rural residents, 832 impoverished counties and 128,000 poor villages had all been lifted out of absolute poverty, creating a miracle in human history, reads the paper. 

The strategy of targeted poverty alleviation is China's strongest weapon in its final battle to secure victory against poverty, and a major innovation in the theory and practice of poverty reduction, Xu Lin, minister of the State Council Information Office, said at a press conference on Tuesday to mark the launch of the white paper entitled "Poverty Alleviation: China's Experience and Contribution".

Statistics indicate that women account for half of the nearly 100 million people who had been lifted out of extreme poverty, and all the 28 ethnic groups with small populations in China had lifted themselves out of poverty.

In China's five autonomous regions, including the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Tibet Autonomous Region, and three provinces with a large ethnic population, the impoverished population dropped by 15.6 million from 2016 to 2020.

Stable and high-quality power supply services have been provided to all rural areas in China. A total of 28.89 million impoverished people have had access to safe drinking water, said the paper.

A third-party survey in late 2020 shows that more than 94 percent of residents are satisfied with the poverty reduction results in the eight ethnic regions, officials revealed at the press conference. 

Behind these achievements and high public satisfaction, more than 1,800 CPC members and officials have sacrificed their lives for the cause of poverty reduction from 2012 to 2020. Causes include natural disasters, illness or accidents.

Highlights of China's White Paper on Poverty Alleviation Infographic: Deng Zijun/GT

Highlights of China's White Paper on Poverty Alleviation Infographic: Deng Zijun/GT

Core leadership and efficient scheme

Analyzing why China was able to eliminate extreme poverty, Xu noted that the CPC considers poverty alleviation as a key element of its governance and has brought together all the efforts of the Party and the country since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012 to achieve the goal.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has visited China's poverty-stricken regions on more than 50 occasions to learn about the real conditions of the impoverished families.

"In the poverty alleviation process, the CPC has always played a strong leading role, mobilizing resources in an organizational system to ensure a successful fight against poverty," Song Guiwu, a professor at the Gansu Provincial Party School, told the Global Times on Tuesday. Gansu is one of the Chinese provinces with the greatest challenges and toughest tasks in poverty alleviation.

Dr Robert Lawrence Kuhn, chairman of The Kuhn Foundation and recipient of the China Reform Friendship Medal, told the Global Times in a previous interview that "the common root of China winning the war to contain the contagious COVID-19 and China winning the war to eradicate extreme poverty is the CPC's leadership and organizational capacity."

CPC's organizational capacity runs through the whole system of the poverty alleviation campaign. It makes the best use of the advantages of the socialist system which enable efficient decision-making, effective organization and the ability to pool resources to accomplish large undertakings, Song said. 

Specifically, its working mechanism is that the central government is responsible for resource pooling, fund preparation, policy formulation and setting assessment standards, while governments at all levels are responsible for project implementation, manpower and fund allocation, Song noted.

"Moreover, the Chinese government innovatively ensures multiple financing sources for poverty alleviation through increasing government investments and stimulating capital markets to attract nongovernmental funding to the cause," Song said. 

The process follows a rigorous and transparent standard in assessing the poverty threshold. People can be identified as being out of poverty only when annual income per capita reached 4,000 yuan ($ 610) by 2020, with basic food and clothing needs satisfied, and basic medical care, compulsory education and housing requirements ensured. They must meet all these standards before they can apply for withdrawal, Hong Tianyun, deputy head of China's newly established National Administration for Rural Vitalization, said at the press conference on Tuesday. 

These standards are higher than the World Bank definition of extreme poverty and the target of the 2035 United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda, Hong stressed.

Experience valued for developing regions

China has promoted a new model of international exchanges and cooperation on poverty reduction with mutual respect and benefits at its core, the white paper indicates.

China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013 to expand deep and high-level regional cooperation on economic and social development. According to a World Bank study, the initiative will help lift 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty and 32 million out of moderate poverty in participating countries. 

"One of the many successes brought about by the CPC is the BRI. Working in close collaboration with local governments, the Chinese central government finances infrastructure projects to connect previously disconnected communities in underdeveloped regions. A project of this scale has never been seen before in human history. The BRI is living proof of the sincerity of the internationalist values behind the CPC," Clayton, a US Communist youth organizer who prefers to use only his first name, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

In Asia, China and members of ASEAN have launched a rural poverty reduction plan and carried out the East Asia Poverty Reduction Demonstration Cooperation Technical Assistance Projects program in rural communities in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. In Africa, China has helped partner countries improve infrastructure, provide aid, and set up vocational and technical schools, among other projects. In Latin America, China has built agricultural technology demonstration centers to help lift locals from poverty, reads the white paper.

The Global Times previously participated in a seminar for village leaders from Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar where useful experience was shared with on-site investigation.

China's poverty-lifting experience and practices have relatively high recognition in the international community despite ideological antagonism from some Western countries against China, said Zhang Qi, a research fellow and professor at School of Economics and Resource Management under Beijing Normal University.

"Poverty reduction is a globally common problem, so other countries can learn from China in light of their own conditions after China shares its own practices," Zhang told the Global Times on Tuesday.

China's sincere and unselfish sharing of development experience with other developing countries is totally different from the behavior of the Western world, which politicizes development issues and tries to geopolitically suppress countries with different development conceptions, Chinese observers pointed out. The West's unpopular attempts are bound to fail, they suggested.

"Poverty alleviation and the modernization of China are remarkable accomplishments, especially given the complex and difficult international political environment of the past decades. Under the leadership of the Communist Party, the country has become united, and it has focused first and foremost on raising the living standards of the Chinese people," Brian Becker, a global affairs analyst and executive director of the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R.) in the US, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

While some Western media outlets have kept smearing China's poverty alleviation campaign and questioned whether the momentum can be maintained, the paper also has an eye on the future, illustrating the country's plan for 2035-50 to achieve the full development of its people.

In order to prevent local regions from returning to poverty, the country will set up monitoring systems and set a five-year period in impoverished counties to stabilize the achievements of poverty alleviation, together with more than 30 supporting policies and more job opportunities, Wang Zhengpu, head of the National Administration for Rural Vitalization, said at the press conference.