China tackles poverty by resettling rural villagers

Updated: 2016-06-30 08:09

By Zhu Lixin and Ma Chenguang in Lu'An, Anhui(China Daily)

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Chen Zeping and his wife have lived for decades in a rundown, brick-and-clay house in an impoverished village in mountainous Jinzhai county, eking out a living with odd jobs.

The couple's annual net income is less than 2,800 yuan ($431) on average, and Chen, 56, must travel a long distance from Dawan village to Huashi township to find temporary laboring jobs.

Jinzhai, in East China's Anhui province, once an important Red Army revolutionary base, is among the country's poorest counties. More than 12 percent of the population, or 83,400 residents, are considered impoverished.

On a recent visit, President Xi Jinping took both a long flight and drive before arriving in Jinzhai, then still needed another hour to reach Chen's village.

But this is about to change as Chen and others will soon move to a newly built community with better transportation infrastructure and apartments paid for by the government.

"Life and work will be much easier then," Chen told the President. China's top leaders have made poverty alleviation an important goal in the country's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).

China tackles poverty by resettling rural villagers

Migration and resettlement are expected to play important roles in improving rural residents' living conditions.

Over the next five years, 10 million of the country's 70 million poorer people will be resettled. The program is expected to cost 600 billion yuan.

"Migration and resettlement alone are still not enough to keep poverty alleviation sustainable," said Shen Xiaoyu, an official at the China Development Bank's Anhui branch who helped the Lu'an city government with poverty alleviation last year.

Li Shoufang, 54, who described herself a "left-behind woman", is among those targeted by the poverty alleviation work.

She had been living on 0.2 hectares of mountainous forest land with a green tea garden in rural Dushan township in the city's Yu'an district.

"Earnings from farming have been very limited, so my husband and unmarried daughter had to migrate to the provincial capital for work," Li said.

Last year, Li gave the family farmland to a newly created agriculture development company in exchange for annual rent of about 3,450 yuan. She is now paid 60 yuan each day for fieldwork.

Several kilometers away, a new apartment community will be completed in a few months. Li will then give up her current dilapidated dwelling and move into the new community of 835 families and 3,573 people.

Yu'an district plans to build 10 such communities to resettle 5,512 households, 2,146 of which are poor families. The projects will require a total investment of 2 billion yuan.

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