In February 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping solemnly announced at a grand gathering to mark the nation’s poverty alleviation accomplishments and honor model poverty fighters, that on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China has secured a “complete victory” in its fight against poverty. 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 832 impoverished counties and 128,000 villages have also been removed from the poverty list. Since the opening-up and reform initiative in 1978, 770 million people have been lifted out of poverty, representing a miracle of eradicating absolute poverty on a scale never seen in the world. According to the World Bank international poverty line, China has contributed to over 70% of the world poverty reduction, meeting the poverty eradication target set out in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. Having said that, shaking off poverty is not the finish line, but rather, the starting point of a new life and new endeavor. There is still a long way to go to address the problems of unbalanced and insufficient development, close the urban-rural divide, promote people’s all-round development, and achieve common prosperity for all.
Why China has been able to achieve the poverty reduction target in such a short span of time?
One, the CPC leadership represents the strong political and organizational guarantee with the Party members taking the lead in poverty reduction efforts. Two, a people-centered development approach ensures the government prioritizes and makes substantial investment in poverty alleviation. Three, the socialist system is the institutional basis upon which people across the country, including all ethnic groups and social sectors, are motivated into the concerted fight against poverty, a manifestation of China’s ability to mobilize resources and pool strengths to tackle critical issues. Four, targeted poverty alleviation strategy has been adopted with a focus on development as the solution to the root causes of poverty. Five, the impoverished population are encouraged to take the initiative to improve their own livelihood.
Targeted poverty alleviation is the magic weapon for winning the battle against poverty.
Precision is the key to successful poverty relief efforts. A National Poverty Registration System was in place, where every poor household is registered, where their progress can be tracked and where they can be managed dynamically. This helps the country to precisely identify real problems of different localities and individuals so that resources can be allocated to precisely those in need.
Policy initiatives have been implemented, targeting different counties, households and individuals, based on the different causes and categories of poverty, and placing the focus on the four major issues of “who to receive the support”, “who to offer the support”, “how to offer the support” and “how to measure poverty reduction completion”.
Development has been deemed the solution to addressing the root causes of poverty, and thus creating an enabling environment that fosters capacity-building is crucial for poverty relief efforts. This has required sustaining local economy while empowering the locals with means to prosper.
Education has proven an inseparable ingredient to ending poverty. Efforts have been made to ensure education remains accessible to the most underprivileged children in the most impoverished areas in order to break the cycle of poverty.
China is ready to share its poverty reduction experience with the LAC.
Global poverty, an issue compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a daunting barrier to global development and governance. Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is one of the regions hit hardest by the pandemic, having laid bare the poverty-related issues plaguing this region. The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) released a report in March 2021 stating that the year 2020 saw 78 million people in the LAC live in extreme poverty, representing a extreme poverty rate of 12.5%. Poverty alleviation is high on the agenda of every government in the region.
As a responsible major country and a partner of the LAC that uphold the vision of China-LAC community with a shared future, China has been committed to China-LAC poverty reduction cooperation. China has signed Belt and Road Initiative agreements with 19 LAC countries to support regional development. Under the framework of China-CELAC Forum, poverty alleviation dialogues in the fields of education, health and agriculture have been held. Bilateral and multilateral assistance and human resource training have helped with the sustained development of the region. Since the onset of the pandemic, China has donated 34 million medical supplies to 30 LAC countries, held over 40 virtual meetings on experience sharing, and provided vaccines to a number of LAC countries including Dominica.
Distance cannot lessen the bond of those who share true friendship. China stands ready to join hands with the LAC to continue tackling the common challenge of poverty, while helping with its anti-pandemic efforts, expanding areas of cooperation for the benefit of peoples of both sides, as well as making greater contributions to global poverty reduction efforts.