Beijing, March12 (Xinhua): The Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has called for sustained action in the fight against “extreme poverty” because only two years are left for the country to meet its goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2020.
“There should be no retreat until a complete victory is achieved,” Xi told delegates from Gansu Province at the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s national parliament legislature, last Thursday.
He was speaking in his capacity as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chairman of the Central Military Commission.
“Decisive progress has been achieved in the country’s tough fight against poverty over the past years, marking a new chapter in the poverty reduction history of mankind,” Xi said.
But he pointed out that the task is not over yet and that the tasks ahead are hard. Those in poverty are suffering a lot, he stressed.
What The Program Means
Explaining the meaning of eradicating extreme poverty, Xi said that it means that no person should need to worry about food and clothing. Everyone should enjoy access to compulsory education, basic medical care and safe housing.
He condemned the bureaucratic approach and the observance of “formalities for formalities’ sake.” Such an approach hampers the poverty reduction program, he said, and warned that such tendencies will be curbed with a firm hand.
Xi asked Communist Party committees and governments at all levels to shoulder their responsibilities in the critical battle against poverty.
He said that the undesirable conduct of officials should be corrected in a timely manner. There should be special campaigns against corruption and the bad conduct of officials in poverty reduction projects, Xi said.
Last Friday, Xi called for more efforts to implement the rural revitalization strategy, the main goal of which is to modernize agriculture.
Speaking to delegates from Henan Province at the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress, Xi said that efforts should be made to promote the supply-side reform in the agricultural sector to achieve food security while building a modern and efficient agriculture, Xi added.
In other words, food items, especially grains, should be supplied to the farmers to ensure food security to them.
Xi also called for enhanced protection of the ecological environment and the prevention and treatment of pollution in the rural areas.
He said that there should be strict penalties for crimes like food adulteration to ensure food safety.
To achieve these goals, efforts should be made to strengthen the leadership of Communist Party units at the grassroots level in the rural areas, Xi said.
Towards this end, the party should explore systems of self-governance in the rural areas, he suggested.
Xi also called for measures to promote a “two-way flow” between the urban and rural areas with equal exchange of factors of production, including human resources, lands and capital.
“The task of eradicating extreme poverty must be fulfilled by 2020,” Xi underlined.
The Chinese government is turning its attention to something equally important to rural areas, namely toilets.
China, which is the world’s second-largest economy, is in the midst of a “toilet revolution.” It was launched in 2015 to improve washrooms across the country. But there is still a lot of work to do in this area.
In the rural areas of China, some toilets are little more than makeshift shelters. Some are only open pits next to pigsties.
Toilets might not be nice to think about, but for villagers, good and clean toilets ensure a cleaner and healthier environment and lifestyle. For sightseers and foreign tourists, good and clean toilets make for a pleasant holiday experience. And it brings opportunities for businesses to thrive in a big way.
China has announced plans to install or renovate toilets for 10 million rural households in 30,000 villages this year.
The funds allocated by the central government for this is expected to be 7 billion Yuan (about US$ 1.04 billion).
Cutting Edge Toilet Technologies
Last year, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation showcased various cutting edge toilet technologies at an exhibition in Beijing named “Reinvented Toilet Expo.”
The reinvented toilets do not require sewers, thus making them easier and cheaper to install.
Besides toilet upgrades, China is also upgrading garbage and sewage treatment facilities to create a more beautiful and healthy countryside.
China has more than 550,000 villages and companies are eager to seize the massive business opportunities there. But for this to happen, the rural environment must be improved.
“Basic Modernization” of Agriculture
China plans to achieve “basic modernization of agriculture and rural areas” by 2035.
The grand goal is to have a strong agricultural sector, a beautiful countryside and well-off farmers. The target to achieve this is 2050.
To guarantee national food security and improve its agricultural competitiveness, China will have more high-standard farmland. It will install more efficient water conservation facilities; and use more advanced agricultural equipment.
Farms in China are becoming larger. Their operations are being mechanized and transformed by information technology.
Rural infrastructure and basic services are being improved. The government has announced plans to provide safe water to the entire rural population within two years.
A new round of rural power grid upgrading will be completed.
Policy makers are stepping up efforts to direct more funds to agriculture, farmers and rural areas. Private companies are also encouraged to join the endeavor.
All these efforts are creating opportunities in related industries such as green farming, e-commerce, tourism, renewable energy, and construction.
Effective Rural Self-governance
The rural revitalization strategy includes systems for effective rural governance to make sure that rural society is vigorous and stable.
National modernization drive will not be complete without the modernization of China’s agricultural and rural areas. It is hoped that China’s 600 million rural residents will one day enjoy the same quality service in education, health care and environment management as their urban counterparts.
This is a massive project that will inevitably take a long time, but China is working hard and learning from other countries’ experiences.
It is hoped that tourists will soon spend their holidays in the countryside enjoying traditional Chinese culture and beautiful sceneries; and international investors will take advantage of the rising business opportunities in the vast rural areas and work with millions of diligent and open-minded farmers.
Success in these efforts will help other countries find solutions to problems faced in the rural areas.