Absolute poverty has been eradicated in the world’s most populous country, Xi announced while addressing a gathering held here to mark the country’s accomplishments in poverty alleviation and honour its model poverty fighters.
China has a population of around 1.4 billion.
“No country has been able to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in such a short time,” Xi said.
Xi said that all poor people in rural areas have been lifted out of poverty.
With this, China has achieved the UN goal of poverty eradication 10 years ahead of the 2030 deadline, he said.
Over the past eight years, the final 98.99 million impoverished rural residents living under the current poverty line have all been lifted out of poverty. All the 832 impoverished counties and 128,000 impoverished villages have been removed from the poverty list, he said.
Since the launch of the reform and opening up in the late 1970s, 770 million impoverished rural residents have shaken off poverty when calculated according to China’s current poverty line, he said.
China has contributed to more than 70 per cent of global poverty reduction over the same period, Xi, also General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), said.
With such achievements, China has created another “miracle” that will “go down in history,” he said.
Xi said since he assumed power, China has invested accumulative fiscal funds of nearly 1.6 trillion yuan (about $246 billion) into poverty alleviation over the past eight years.
He said according to the World Bank‘s international poverty line, the number of Chinese people lifted out of poverty over the past 40 years accounts for more than 70 per cent of the global total.
China considers extreme rural poor are those with annual per capita income of less than $620, or about $1.69 a day at current exchange rates, which compared closely with the World Bank’s minimum standard of $1.90 a day.
Complete eradication of poverty in China was the main goal announced by Xi when he came to power towards the end of 2012.
At that time, China had about 100 million poor people, mostly living in remote areas.
He has made effective use of targeted eradication of extreme poverty besides crackdown against corruption as the main political goals to consolidate his power in the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) emerging as its most powerful leader after Mao heading the party, the presidency and the powerful military.
With the removal of the two-five-year term rule, Xi, 67, like Mao now has a lifelong tenure in power instead of retiring next year.
His claim of poverty eradication came ahead of the CPC’s centenary celebrations this year. The CPC also boosts of being the world’s only Communist Party with longest tenure in power in the one-party state since 1949 when the People’s Republic of China, (PRC) was formed.
Xi’s claims of poverty eradication however were dented by Premier Li Keqiang’s revelation last year that China has 600 million people whose monthly income is barely 1000 yuan, ( $140).
“While the average per-capita annual income in China is 30000 yuan ($4,193) but there are over 600 million people whose monthly income is barely 1000 yuan ( $140), not enough to rent a room in Chinese cities,” Li said, addressing his annual press conference here in May 2020.
Besides the eradication of the extreme poverty, China is also expected to declare a moderately prosperous society in all respects in the middle of this year.
In 2049, China will achieve its second centenary goal of building “a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious,” state-run Global Times reported.
Martin Raiser, World Bank country director for China, said in an exclusive interview with CGTN recently that China has been “very effective” in identifying poor households, as part of its targeted approach in poverty elimination.
Raiser also noted e-commerce played a key role in the country’s fight against poverty.
Eliminating absolute poverty shows that China’s development has entered a new era, Yu Shaoxiang, chief research fellow with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
China’s achievement in poverty alleviation shows the progress of the country’s “whole nation system” – China can concentrate its efforts and resources to do major things and realise development, Yu said.
In his address on Thursday, Xi said that shaking off poverty is not the finish line, but the starting point of a new life and new endeavour.
Xi said the CPC has been working to improve people’s livelihood since its foundation and over 10 million poor people were lifted out of poverty on average each year since he took over power.
He said some 25.68 million poor people in China from 7.9 million households have seen their dilapidated houses renovated since late 2012.
Over 9.6 million Chinese people have been relocated from impoverished areas since late 2012, he said.
Also, 28 ethnic minority groups with relatively small populations have shaken off poverty collectively since late 2012, he said.
“Improving lives in rural areas key to securing victory to build a moderately prosperous society by 2021,” he said.