The achievement of this goal requires the world to eliminate extreme poverty, to lift more people out of poverty, to build national social security systems based on local conditions, and to give men and women equal rights and access to economic resources. The full realization of these goals is what the world, especially poor countries, are striving for.
Since the reform and opening-up started, the Chinese government has been committed to eradicating poverty. It has increased public investment in rural areas, improved local infrastructure, helped foster leading industries in poor areas, developed rural economies, increased the capital accumulation capacity of underdeveloped areas, and created jobs for poor households.
In addition, the Chinese government also helps those in poverty by providing access to education, health care, finance, and science and technology. Compulsory education in rural areas is guaranteed. Platforms are built to encourage colleges and universities to provide training for teachers in poverty-stricken areas. Besides, an increasing amount of medical services are available in poor areas, and the proportion of medical expenditure reimbursement has increased.
China has also made innovations in micro-credit policies for poverty alleviation to help poor households increase production. By the end of 2019, a total of RMB 604.3 billion had been granted in micro loans, benefiting more than 15.2 million poor households. China has also introduced a series of science and technology policies to help build industries to alleviate poverty, promote the applications of scientific and technological achievements in poor areas, and encourage professionals to provide scientific and technological services to poor villages.
These measures have laid a solid foundation for poverty alleviation, stimulated people’s desire to get out of poverty, and cultivated the skills needed for them to do so.
Achim Steiner, administrator of the United Nations Development Program, once said in an interview that China’s poverty alleviation achievements are unprecedented in scale and duration. He pointed out that other countries can learn from China about how to systematically and organizationally develop their economies in a more inclusive way, which is consistent with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and China’s guiding principle that no one should be left behind in the national poverty alleviation campaign.
In 2013, China began to implement the targeted poverty alleviation policy. According to different conditions of different poverty-stricken areas and households, precise and effective procedures have been applied to accurately identify and assist the poor. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that a targeted poverty reduction strategy is the only way to help the poor and achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. China’s experience can be useful for other developing countries.
As a result, the number of poor people in China dropped from 98.99 million at the end of 2012 to just 5.51 million by the end of 2019, and the poverty incidence dropped from 10.2 percent to 0.6 percent. For seven years in a row, China has lifted over 10 million people out of poverty every year, and this year will see the complete elimination of poverty. The once impoverished people no longer have to worry about food and clothing, with their quality of life seeing significant improvement, compulsory education, basic medical care, and safe housing guaranteed, and regional overall poverty solved.
In the course of poverty alleviation in China, the vast majority of poor farmers have found sources of income, except for a very small number of families who have to make ends meet through social security due to lack of labor force. In the future, the government will take measures to consolidate industrial development and employment in poor areas.
At the same time, it is critically important to assist those households in rural areas where contractual production is the main economic driver. On the basis of completing the remaining poverty alleviation tasks this year, starting from next year, China will revitalize its rural areas and consolidate the achievements of poverty alleviation through the development of distinctive and competitive industries in rural areas.
Ecological industries will be developed, further improving farmers’ living conditions on the basis of environmental protection, and ecologically sustainable and beautiful villages will be built. The aim will be to retain talent in rural areas through effective mechanisms in a bid to achieve high-quality rural development.