Yunnan promises to raise incomes in poor areas
Updated: 2014-01-28 09:46
By Hu Yongqi and Li Yingqing in Kunming (China Daily)
Yunnan province, one of the least well-off areas of China, will lift 1 million people out of poverty, above an annual income threshold of less than 2,300 yuan ($380) in 2014, its governor said during the province's two sessions that concluded recently.
Governor Li Jiheng said the provincial government will focus on four major areas, including the Nujiang Lisu autonomous prefecture on the border with northern Myanmar, in a government report delivered to the Yunnan People's Congress annual session.
According to the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Relief and Development, 73 of 592 national economically deprived counties are located in Yunnan, most of which are located in far-flung mountainous areas or along river valleys.
"This year, Yunnan put 10,000 villages and 56 townships on the top of its poverty alleviation agenda. The provincial government will strive to raise the income of the population in these areas by 3 additional percentage points to equal the average in Yunnan," Li said.
In December 2013, the provincial government issued a plan to provide funding of 4.8 billion yuan to significantly improve conditions in Nujiang, a prefecture named after the Nujiang River that flows from the Tibet autonomous region to northern Myanmar. The prefecture's transportation infrastructure is weak and its economic conditions are harsh.
About 240,000 people live below the poverty line in Nujiang, accounting for 53.9 percent of its total population. That percentage is almost four times the national average, and three times that of Yunnan in general.
The plan for Nujiang encompasses measures to relocate and build homes for farmers from the mountains to riverbank areas, erect and repair irrigation facilities and upgrade village roads and rural power grids.
The mountains make it difficult for Nujiang to access clean water, despite the heavy rain, and the projects will ensure a safe and secure water supply for rural towns.
Meanwhile, telecommunication facilities will reach remote villages in 2017. Local officials have a goal to nurture and develop local expertise and, to that end, the plan will also sponsor projects in education, healthcare and professional training.
A 200-km trip takes at least seven hours as major repairs are being undertaken on the highway close to the river in Nujiang. It usually takes five days by bus from the provincial capital, Kunming, to the far-flung township of Dulongjiang, as China Daily reporters experienced in October 2012.
Meanwhile, arable farmland is rarely seen. Villages in the prefecture are sandwiched between mountains. The Lisu people and other ethnic groups also build their homes on mountain slopes, closer to the major energy provider - wood - and cornfields.
Duan Yueqing, director of the Yunnan Provincial Commission for Tourism Development, said Nujiang, with beautiful scenery, has a tremendous advantage in developing tourism. But more convenient transportation links need to be built to bring in more tourists.
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Guo Anfei contributed to this story.