Agreements signed to help poor ahead of Poverty Relief Day

Updated: 2016-10-17 07:11


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Agreements signed to help poor ahead of Poverty Relief Day

A farmer harvests chrysanthemum flowers in Xiuning, Anhui province, on Friday. Many farmers have increased their incomes by growing the flowers, which are used in herbal medicine. [Photo/China Daily] 

Twelve wealthy villages in China signed agreements with 12 poverty-stricken counterparts on Sunday, to guide the latter in developing their economy and creating a better life for local people.

The agreements were signed after a commendation meeting and a series of forums on poverty relief were held in Beijing on Sunday, the day before China's third Poverty Relief Day, which falls on Monday.

Under the agreements, the wealthy villages will share their experiences of how they successfully achieved their wealth and help their impoverished counterparts to boost development of local industries and nurture talent.

In a congratulatory statement sent to the meeting, which honored organizations and individuals for their outstanding contribution to poverty alleviation, President Xi Jinping urged local authorities to leave no stone unturned in the implementation of precision poverty relief measures to lift the nation's poor.

The agreements between wealthy and poverty-stricken villages are designed to advance the efforts of precision poverty relief, said Xu Jianmin, an official from the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

"We believe that by encouraging such cooperation, gaps in wealth and economic development can be narrowed," Xu said.

While most of the 12 impoverished villages are in western China, the wealthy ones are mostly located in more prosperous regions in East and Southeast China, such as Guoyuan village in Beijing's Fengtai district, where the village's 1,600 residents achieved a total income of 1.61 billion yuan ($240 million) in 2015.

The agreements will see officials from the impoverished villages working in the wealthy villages to learn new skills and encourage exchanges.

Over the past three decades, more than 600 million poor Chinese-about 70 percent of the world total-have been lifted out of poverty, making China the first developing country to meet the UN's Millennium Development Goals.

China has prioritized poverty reduction, vowing to help the nation's 70 million people who remain below the poverty line-an annual income of less than 2,300 yuan-to shake off poverty and enjoy essential social services by 2020.

According to the World Bank Global Database of Shared Prosperity, China topped the world rankings for both the income growth of the bottom 40 percent of the population and the average growth in the whole population from 2008 to 2012.Bert Hofman, the World Bank's country director for China, Mongolia and Korea in the East Asia and Pacific Region, said China's goal to eliminate extreme poverty by 2020 is an ambitious one, but added that with current economic growth rates and policy, the country is capable of reaching it.

In 1990, 35 percent of the world's population lived below the international poverty standard, but by 2013 the proportion had dropped to 10 percent. Fewer than 800 million people worldwide are now considered poor, according to Hofman, who said China had contributed to that progress.

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Xinhua contributed to this story.