By H.E. Ren Yisheng, Chinese Ambassador to Liberia
In February 2021, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xi Jinping solemnly declared that China has won an all-round victory in the fight against poverty and completed the arduous task of eliminating extreme poverty. In April, the State Council Information Office of China released the white paper “Poverty Alleviation: China’s Experience and Contribution”, which comprehensively introduces China’s exploration and approach in eliminating extreme poverty, and shares its experience and actions in poverty alleviation.
Since the reform and opening up in 1978, according to the current poverty standard, 770 million rural poor people in China have been lifted out of poverty. Especially since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, in 8 years, more than 10 million people, on average, shook off poverty each year, which is equivalent to the population in a medium-sized country. According to the World Bank’s International Poverty Standards, China’s poverty alleviation population accounted for more than 70% of the global poverty alleviation population during the same period, and China achieved the first target of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule, making important contributions to the world’s poverty alleviation and development.
This is the first time that the Chinese nation has eliminated overall and extreme poverty in its history of thousands of years. No country can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in such a short period of time. The key to the success of poverty alleviation with Chinese characteristics lies in the following aspects:
One is to always adhere to the people-centered philosophy. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. The goal of the Party, both grand and simple, is to ensure a happy life for the Chinese people. Over the past century, it has borne in mind its founding mission to seek happiness for the Chinese people and national rejuvenation, and united and led the people in fighting poverty armed with firm convictions and a strong will.
The second is to prioritize poverty elimination in governance. The CPC has always regarded poverty alleviation as an important task for ensuring national peace and stability. It has highlighted poverty alleviation at national level when setting its guidelines, principles and policies, and when formulating national plans for medium- and long-term development, and deployed national power to advance the cause.
The third is to eradicate poverty through development. China is aware that development is essential to solving its problem of poverty. It has concentrated its efforts in particular on the economy, to address the problem of unbalanced and inadequate development. China has regarded reform as an important driving force for poverty eradication and worked constantly to remove institutional and structural causes of poverty.
The fourth is to press ahead with poverty alleviation based on reality. Based on its national conditions and stage of development, and on the changes in the demographics, distribution, and structure of the poor population，China has creatively carried out a strategy of targeted poverty alleviation to enhance efficiency. It is summarized as accomplishing “Targeted Efforts in Six Areas” which refers to efforts to identify the poor accurately, arrange targeted programs, utilize capital efficiently, take household-based measures, dispatch first Party secretaries based on village conditions, and achieve the set goals, taking “Five Measures for Poverty Eradication” including boosting the economy to provide more job opportunities, relocating poor people from inhospitable areas, compensating for economic losses associated with reducing ecological damage, improving education in impoverished areas, and providing subsistence allowances for those unable to shake off poverty through their own efforts alone, and addressing “Five Questions in Poverty Alleviation”, that is who should help, who should be helped, how to help, how to evaluate whether someone has emerged from poverty, and how to ensure those people stay free from poverty.
The fifth is to let the poor play the principal role. Poverty alleviation requires both external and internal forces to form a synergy. China encourages the poor to play their part, inspires them with the motivation to fight poverty, and enhances their ability to participate in development, share the fruits of development, and achieve endogenous development, so that the poor will not only benefit from success in the undertaking of poverty alleviation but also contribute to development.
The sixth is to pool all resources to create synergy. In the fight against poverty, the CPC has mobilized and pooled all possible forces on the basis of its rigorous organizational system and efficient work mechanism. A large-scale poverty alleviation network has been established, with the government, society and the market working in coordination, and government-sponsored projects, sector-specific programs, and corporate and societal assistance supplementing each other. It is a framework with the full participation of multiple players from different regions, sectors, departments and businesses.
The seventh is to actively carry out international exchanges and cooperation on poverty alleviation. China has conducted extensive cooperation with the UN development system and the World Bank in the field of poverty alleviation, while accepting assistance from some developed countries and carrying out cooperation projects. All this has provided support to the institutional innovation and management level improvement in China’s poverty alleviation.
The eighth is to implement the most stringent assessment and evaluation. China has carried out special governance on corruption and work style in the field of poverty alleviation and established a comprehensive supervision system to truly make the effect of poverty alleviation stand the test of history and the people. At present, China is continuing to consolidate and expand the achievements of poverty alleviation by establishing a follow-up monitoring and assistance mechanism to help people stay out of poverty, while at the same time promote rural revitalization in an all-round way, and continue to move towards the higher goal of common prosperity for all people.
While committed to eradicating its own poverty, China has actively participated in international cooperation on poverty alleviation and supported other developing countries in poverty alleviation. In Africa, China has helped African countries build water conservancy infrastructure, vocational and technical schools, government-subsidized housing, and other facilities, set up demonstration zones for agricultural cooperation, and carried out China-Africa cooperation projects involving a Chinese-invented technology using grass to grow mushrooms, China-Africa friendship hospitals, and the headquarters of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention. China has also set up the International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education and other institutions in cooperation with UNESCO, and carried out projects on rural education transformation and teacher training for countries in Africa and other regions. China has carried out exchanges and cooperation in various forms, including building platforms, organizing training, and conducting think tank exchanges to share its experience on poverty reduction. Since 2012, it has held over 130 international training sessions, attended by officials from 116 countries and organizations. China has launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to expand deep and high-level regional cooperation on economic and social development, and to help eligible countries better achieve poverty alleviation. According to a World Bank study, the initiative will help 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty and 32 million out of moderate poverty in these countries. The valuable experiences gathered by the practice of poverty reduction with Chinese characteristics belong to both China and the world. China is ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation on poverty reduction with African countries including Liberia under the framework of the “Belt and Road” initiative and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, support international poverty reduction, and make a greater contribution to building a global community of shared future that is free from poverty and blessed with common prosperity.