China has achieved another “human miracle” by eradicating absolute poverty in the country, by lifting over 770 million people out of it in the last four decades, said Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday (February 25).
In a glitzy ceremony, held to celebrate China’s accomplishment in alleviating poverty and to honour its model poverty figures, President Xi Jinping said that no other country could have lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in such a short time.
“A human miracle has been created that will go down in history,” he added.
Jinping marked this “complete victory” over poverty by bestowing medals on officials, some wearing traditional ethnic-minority attire, from rural communities. He promised to share this exemplary “Chinese example” with other developing nations.
There were 98.99 million impoverished rural residents living under the current poverty line in the world’s most populous country. These Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty, while the 832 impoverished counties and 128,000 impoverished villages have all been removed from the poverty list, he said, reported PTI.
With this landmark achievement, China with a population of 1.4 billion, has met the UN goal of poverty eradication 10 years ahead of the 2030 deadline, he said.
Towards the end of 2012, Jinping had vowed to eradicate extreme poverty, and build a “moderately prosperous society” by the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party, later this year. At that time, China had about 100 million poor people, mostly living in remote areas.
To meet this deadline, the government had pumped in billions of yuan into key sectors like infrastructure and built roads and modern apartment buildings, and offered tax incentives and subsidies to impoverished rural communities, media reports said.
In his address, Jinping said that since he assumed power, China has poured in accumulative fiscal funds of nearly 1.6 trillion yuan (about USD 246 billion) over the past eight years to remove poverty in the country.
Jinping, who also holds the post of the General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), said 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. And, this was arrived at according to the World Bank’s international poverty line figures.
However, the Chinese President said shaking off poverty did not mean the country had reached the “finish line”. This is just the starting point of a new life and a new endeavour, he said.
On an average since he took over in 2012, over 10 million poor people were being lifted out of poverty. While, the CPC has been working to improve people’s livelihood since its foundation. Subsequently, he reeled off statistics to drive home China’s latest achievement.
The dilapidated houses of 25.68 million poor people in China have been renovated; 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 was key to securing victory to build a moderately prosperous society by 2021,” he said.
Last year, China claimed it had achieved its goal of lifting all of its people above a poverty line of $2.30 in daily income. That is slightly above the World Bank’s lowest threshold of $1.90, but below what is recommended for higher income countries.
The World Bank meanwhile said that China has lifted more than 800 million people out of extreme poverty since turning to market reforms in the 1970s, after decades of state planning and ill-advised Maoist campaigns that had stifled the economy, media reports said.
Indeed, the standard of living in China has changed dramatically since the 1970s. Many young Chinese men and women have posh lifestyles that their forefathers could not have even dreamt about.
However, media reports claimed that critics are skeptical about these claims of complete poverty alleviation.