Guizhou finds way out of poverty

Updated: 2013-05-20 02:00

By Gao Anming, Yang Jun and Yang Wanli in Guiyang (China Daily)

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Guizhou, a mountainous province that was once one of China's poorest places, is pressing ahead to improve people's well-being, helping enterprises progress and emphasizing environmental protection.

In 2012, the province ranked second in the nation in per capita GDP growth.

Guizhou finds way out of poverty

Zhao Kezhi, Party chief of Guizhou province.

"Our strategy is for 90 percent of Guizhou residents to enjoy a prosperous life by 2020. Although the outcome could be shown by indices, people's feeling of happiness will speak for itself," Zhao Kezhi, Guizhou provincial Party secretary, said in an interview with China Daily.

"We are playing a crucial role in China's dream of building a well-off society by 2020. If people's livelihoods in Guizhou show promising improvement by then, the nationwide dream will be accomplished," he said.

Getting prosperous and building a well-off society is never an easy task for Guizhou.

More than 90 percent of the Southwest China province's land is mountainous.

Guizhou: Transportation will improve in the next two years

Because of its geographic condition and poor education, Guizhou has 9.23 million people falling under the national poverty line of 2,300 yuan ($370) per year. The province was considered poor for more than a decade.

In 2012, investment in the province rose by 35 percent year-on-year. Its bank savings rose by 23 percent in the past year, which ranks first in the nation.

To better evaluate the improvement of people's livelihood, Zhao said, the government has made a clear aim that per capita GDP in Guizhou will reach $5,000 by 2020.

While maintaining rapid economic growth, Guizhou isn't sidestepping building an environmentally friendly province and keeping its ecological balance.

"Construction should give way to the protection of the environment" has become an important guide to construction for the provincial government.

At 41 percent, Guizhou has China's largest forest coverage, which helps keep the air clean. PM 2.5, or fine particulate matter, is 40 to 60 microgram per cubic meter in Guiyang, the provincial capital.

Thanks to its good environment, Guizhou will host the Eco-Forum Global Annual Conference - the first country level forum of ecological construction - in July this year.

With rich natural resources and various minority cultures, Guizhou also plans to boost its tobacco, tea, wine, local cuisine and Chinese herb industries.

Apart from economic development, Guizhou is also paying attention to education and medical services.

In the next three years, senior high school education will be universal in the province. The provincial government has decided to build 100 vocational schools.

According to Zhao, more than 10,000 physicians and teachers will be recruited from border provinces to work in southeast Guizhou.

"Healthcare and education are our priority projects. We have a big mountain area in Guizhou, which poses greater challenges to our development and people's livelihood. The government is working hard to enhance people's living conditions while infrastructure construction should not lag behind," Zhao said.

According to the government report, transportation construction in Guizhou will speed up within the next two years. Total expressway mileage will surpass 5,000 kilometers and railways will reach 3,600 km by 2015.

In 2013, the province will have an overall investment of $162 billion, about 30 percent of which will go for education, medical services as well as infrastructure construction.

To attract more talent, Zhao said, the province plans to recruit 200 people who have outstanding performances in innovation and management.

More than 1,000 experienced young political leaders, hospital managers and college presidents will also be recruited this year.

He said that this plan is only for the provincial level and the province also encouraged those cities and counties to set their own targets.

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