China vows to lift remaining 70 million above poverty line by 2020

China’s top leadership has pledged resolute measures to lift the remaining 70 million poor people above the poverty line by 2020 which amounted to a million a month.

A two-day high-profile conference on poverty alleviation and development, acknowledged that the major tasks for governments over the next five years will include ensuring that the poverty-stricken people to have enough to eat and wear, and to enjoy compulsory education, health service and housing.

Identifying poverty alleviation still “an arduous task,” President Xi Jinping said that “no single poor region nor an individual living in poverty will be left behind” when the country accomplishes the goal of “building a moderately prosperous society” by 2020.

Hong Tianyun, deputy director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development of China, said in October that in the past 15 years, China has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty, accounting for about 70% of those brought out of poverty worldwide.

Despite this, China still had 70.17 million people in the countryside living below the poverty line of 2,300 yuan ($376) in annual income at the end of last year, he said.

In his speech at the leading group, Xi urged governments at all levels to carry out more targeted and precise measures to ensure the poor people in rural areas have access to food, clothes, basic education, medical care, and safe home.

The per-capita disposable income of farmers in poor areas should grow in a pace faster than the national average, and basic public services for the areas should almost be up to the national average criteria, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Local governments and officials, particularly those of underdeveloped regions, should make poverty alleviation the top priority in the next five years’ work, Xi said.

Priority should be given to the improvement of rural infrastructure, including roads, access to water, power and Internet, Premier Li Keqiang said during the conference.

The conference which ended on Saturday laid out concrete and diversified measures in poverty relief.

Industrial development is key to poverty alleviation, Xi said, adding that local resources should be well utilised to develop industries and ensure employment for the jobless peasants. Relocation is also highlighted.

Li urged to lift about 10 million people out of poverty by 2020 through relocation, and local governments should make sure the relocated people have stable jobs to make a living.