Kunming November 14 (Xinhua) — Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, which had the country’s largest remaining poor population at the end of last year, has eradicated absolute poverty.
The last nine counties in the province were delisted from the poverty-stricken county list on Saturday, which meant all its 88 poverty-stricken counties have shaken off poverty, said Huang Yunbo, director of the provincial poverty alleviation office.
It also means that the 11 ethnic minority groups with relatively small populations in the province have bid farewell to poverty.
Aerial photo taken on Nov. 13, 2020 shows a relocation site for Tuoping Village of the Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China’s Yunnan Province. (Xinhua/Hu Chao)
OVER 200,000 CADRES ON THE FRONTLINE
Less than a week after Guo Denghui came to Yandongjiao, the 29-year-old “first secretary” had managed to remember the basic information relating to the 1,224 households in this impoverished village in Zhenxiong, a county once home to China’s largest poor population.
Guo, a former government official in the city of Zhaotong, became a poverty-relief cadre three years ago, working in the poorest, most remote places in the country.
Besides playing basketball with a group of men who were also poverty-relief cadres, there were few entertainment options for Guo, let alone time to find a boyfriend.
“But I feel lucky and proud to be taking part in China’s war against absolute poverty,” she said.
Students attend class at a school covering primary and secondary education at Yandongjiao Village of Zhenxiong County, southwest China’s Yunnan Province, Nov. 11, 2020. (Photo by Wang Guansen/Xinhua)
Promoting poverty-alleviation policies, boosting employment and helping local residents develop the bamboo industry are among a raft of efforts the poverty-relief cadres have made in Yandongjiao Village.
“Zhenxiong County got rid of poverty through the concerted efforts of more than 10,000 poverty-alleviation cadres and over 500,000 impoverished residents. There is no shortcut,” said local poverty-relief cadre Cheng Zhidong.
Since 2015, Yunnan has appointed 48,500 “first secretaries” and 194,700 other cadres stationed in impoverished villages, including government officials, doctors, veterans and management personnel, to assist poverty-relief work.
They have brought ideas, technology, investment and industries, leading impoverished villagers to prosperity.
The province has made arduous efforts and even sacrifices to lift all rural residents living below the current poverty line out of poverty by 2020.
Due to poor transportation and harsh environment in the province, over 170 poverty-relief cadres in the province have lost their lives while working or driving on the road since 2015.
A woman works at a workshop of a relocation site in Zhenxiong County, southwest China’s Yunnan Province, Nov. 13, 2020. (Photo by Wang Guansen/Xinhua)
TARGETED APPROACH TO POVERTY ALLEVIATION
During the past five years, Yunnan has relocated around 1.5 million people from inhospitable areas to safe and stable residences.
Public-service facilities in fields such as education and medical care have been built at the relocation sites, where 95 new kindergartens and more than 60 middle and primary schools have been set up, said Liang Xudong, deputy director with Yunnan Development and Reform Commission.
The Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture, which has more than 98 percent of its land area in high mountains and valleys, is a pivotal battlefield against poverty in Yunnan, with its poverty headcount ratio exceeding 56 percent in 2014.
In Nujiang’s Tuoping Village, 125 out of the total 167 households once lived in poverty, and the only road linking the village to the outside world was a steep horse track.
The prefecture launched a historic relocation project, and nearly 100,000 poor people have moved to more hospitable areas in the past five years.
Since the start of this year, 18.5 billion yuan (about 2.8 billion U.S. dollars) has been injected into industries supporting poverty reduction in the 88 counties. Paved roads have been built in all the 8,502 poverty-stricken villages, and electricity and optical network have covered them all.
The feat of poverty elimination can not be accomplished without support from other economically active regions of China. Under the pairing-up policy, Shanghai and south China’s Guangdong Province invested more than 13.5 billion yuan in financial aid and implemented 4,127 supporting projects to lift 372,200 people in Yunnan out of poverty since 2016, according to Huang.
Zhang Weihua, deputy head of Yunnan’s Zhenxiong County, was sent from the city of Dongguan in Guangdong, said that despite the impact on the economy from the COVID-19 epidemic, Dongguan still allocated 130 million yuan in financial aid to Zhenxiong, 90 million yuan more than last year.
(The featured image at the top shows new blocks of flats built to relocate poor people in Yunnan)