SCIO briefing on poverty alleviation and development

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Officials from the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development

Hu Kaihong, vice director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office

Dec 15, 2015

Hu Kaihong:

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Today we would like to welcome you to our press conference, which is held by the State Council Information Office. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) recently held a meeting on poverty alleviation and development. During the meeting, the Decision to Win the Battle against Poverty was issued. It deployed poverty alleviation work during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020). Today, we are delighted to invite Mr. Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, to introduce to us the related workload of the upcoming 13th Five-Year Plan period and answer your questions. Ms. Su Guoxia, head of the Department of Policies and Laws, and spokeswoman of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, is also attending the conference today.

Now please welcome Mr. Liu.

Liu Yongfu:

Good morning ladies, gentlemen and honorable guests. Welcome to today’s conference. I’m extremely delighted to meet you all, and I look forward to introducing you to the work process regarding poverty alleviation and development. I also want to thank you all for your longstanding devotion and support for poverty alleviation and development in China. We have already provided you with selected materials, and now I would like to elaborate on several particular points.

First, it is the basic goal of a moderately prosperous society to ensure the poor population is lifted out of poverty and poor counties rid themselves of this poverty tag.

The 18th CPC National Congress put forward the goal of building a moderately prosperous society by 2020. During the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, helping the rural poor population was defined as the most arduous task as well as a symbolic sign of building a more prosperous society. During the meeting, it was also decided that poverty should be generally tackled during the 13th Five-Year Plan period. Recently, the CPC Central Committee held a meeting on poverty alleviation, during which Secretary General Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang delivered important speeches. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council issued the Decision to Win the Battle against Poverty and arranged the related workload for the next five years.

The establishment of a moderately prosperous society depends on the livelihood of the rural population, especially on whether the rural poor can be lifted out of poverty. The basic goal of the establishment of the well-off society is to win the battle against poverty, which includes ensuring food, clothing, compulsory education, basic medical service and housing security for the poor, and ensuring the poorer segments of the population are lifted out of poverty and poorer counties rid themselves of this poverty tag by 2020.

Second, poverty alleviation is the most arduous task in building moderately prosperous society.

There were still more than 70 million rural poor people by the end of 2014. Therefore, 10 million people need to be lifted out of poverty annually to achieve the goal of overcoming poverty by 2020. After years of work, some affected poorer regions have seen improvements in both welfare and economy, but the remaining poorer segments of the rural population are generally less capable in developing their own economy, hence the poverty alleviation work becomes more difficult. In the past, each policy or strategy we approved could help millions of people shake off poverty, but now the effect of such policies is much more moderate. In addition, there are only five years left to 2020. There is no turning back. If we are not able to achieve the task, we are not able to build the prosperous society by then. If we carry out the work in the conventional methods, it may be difficult to achieve the goal. Thus, we need to redouble our determination and adopt clearer methods and targeted measures.

Third, precise poverty alleviation is the basic strategy.

In order to lift the poor population out of poverty and help the poor regions get rid of the poverty tag, we need to carry out the basic strategy of precise poverty alleviation. We need to reform the current thoughts and methods, change the blanket and all-inclusive policies to more targeted policies, help the poor population to develop on their own, change the assessment focus from GDP figures to poverty alleviation achievement, and solve a number of issues including who to support, who and how to conduct poverty alleviation, and how to deal with the exit from poverty.

The basic requirements and key methods of precise poverty alleviation are “Six Precise Items” and “Five Groups Project.” The former includes precise targets, projects, capital use, measures, specific places and effects. The latter means poverty alleviation through the following five projects: develop poor people’s own productivity, help them migrate to richer places, provide them with eco-compensation, improve their education, and provide them with social security. In a nutshell, we will keep our eyes on the 70 million poor people in rural area, identify them one by one, create poverty alleviation files, carry out measures accordingly, and leave no places unaffected by the campaign.

Fourth, releasing the political and institutional advantages is the fundamental guarantee.

Poverty alleviation is not an easy and one-off task. It needs to be addressed based on the actual situations of the country, the leadership of the CPC, the guiding role of the government, and the support of the entire society and general public.

The leadership of the CPC is the most vital political advantage and the fundamental guarantee of poverty alleviation. It is the fundamental principle we need to abide by. We should identify the responsibilities of the leading officials in the CPC and the government. The CPC Central Committee has decided that the heads of the local CPC departments and governments should sign letters of responsibility and make promises to the central authorities. It also required that the heads of CPC departments at provincial, city, county, township and village levels should be clear of their responsibilities and carry out the related work together. Leading officials and working teams need to be dispatched to poorer villages, and both the CPC rural committee and the villagers’ committee need to be well established in poor rural areas, so as to ensure that the poverty alleviation work is implemented thoroughly. All the registered impoverished people live in rural areas, so villages form the “frontline” in the battle against poverty.

The guiding role of the government is a typical Chinese characteristic. Economic growth will not automatically bring forth poverty alleviation, thus the government has a due responsibility in such work and needs to play the guiding role. The government should formulate strategies and plans to help poor regions and people shake off poverty and mobilize resources from across the board to support poverty alleviation work. The government also needs to place priority on poverty alleviation-related projects, capital, work and measures.

Social involvement and support is an outstanding tradition of the Chinese nation, where helping the poor and doing good has long been a traditional virtue. There is a typically Chinese social involvement system, where the richer eastern provinces help the poorer western provinces, CPC-, government- or army-affiliated organizations and state-owned enterprises help specific poor regions and people, and private businesses, social organizations and citizens offer their support. This system needs to be improved, and all the forces need to be coalesced into an integrated whole. No matter what kind of poverty alleviation work, we need to focus on precise poverty alleviation.

First and foremost, identify the responsibilities of the CPC and government and their leading officials. The related officials should sign letters of responsibility, and the heads of CPC departments at provincial, city, county, township and village levels should work on poverty alleviation together, thus to lead all CPC members and the public in poverty alleviation. Second, poor regions and population are the key body in poverty alleviation. External causes may bring about changes, but how things change are determined by internal causes, so external causes only functions through internal causes. Likewise, in addition to the help from the CPC and government, poverty alleviation work depends fundamentally on the efforts of the poor regions and population. We should motivate the internal growth momentum of the regions and population, and help them change their future through their own efforts.

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