Football fan Xu Cong and his friends built a field on the top of a two-storey office building in Zhengzhou, capital of Central China’s Henan province.
“It’s amazing to see China, decades ago, as one of the poorest countries in Asia, now on top of the world, leaving Africa far behind in technology and development. How did China made it? This question should be on the lips of all Third World Country leaders, including African leaders, with inspiration to develop Africa, because development doesn’t miraculously come from heaven. May be African leaders need to sponsor the education of some African students to pursue higher education in China, towards the continent’s development.” – Joel Savage
How China plans to eliminate poverty by 2020
By JONATHAN DE SANTOS. Credit to GMA News.
NANNING, China – There is a folk tale among the Yao people of China that goes: The Han people got up early, so they farm on the plains and the Zhuang people got up second, so they plant along the mountains. The Yao people woke up last and so they have nowhere to grow crops but on the mountaintops.
This is less true for 90 Yao and Zhuang households in Du’an County in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China who have been relocated to flatter ground that is closer to the roads of Daxing Township. The move, part of China’s poverty reduction plan, is meant to give residents access to power, water, and markets for their crops and handicrafts.
According to the poverty reduction office of Guangxi province, the terrain in some parts of the province is too hilly, making it more efficient to relocate the people than to build roads and power lines to reach them.
Relocation also gave the families an extra source of livelihood. “The flat land is for people and the hilly part is for animals,” the chief of Chihua village says, pointing at animal pens built up a slope outside the small settlement. He said they keep chickens and goats in the pens while corn, sugarcane, walnuts, and traditional medicinal herbs are planted in plots outside their houses.
The 84-sq.m homes were the last part of the relocation, which included creating a comprehensive plan to support the villagers after the move, designing uniform homes for the villagers, and having the villagers build the homes themselves with the help of a one-time subsidy from the government.
Part of the comprehensive plan is the government taking responsibility for acquiring the goods from the village and bringing them to the markets.
“Most of the people support the move from the mountain place to the flat place,” the chief said through an interpreter. He said the relocation in 2010 not only gave them access to roads, power, and water, but also to a health center.
In nearby Hua Kang, village chief Meng Shaokun said he is “very happy” about the move because “basically, I am out of poverty.”
The Chinese government sets its poverty line at an annual income of 2,300 yuan (around P16,100) and average income in Hua Kang is from 18,000-20,000 yuan (around P126,000 to P140,000) a year from produce and from subsidies from the government.
Poverty elimination by 2020
The relocation in Daxing Township is just part of a 120 million-yuan plan to move 100,000 people from the mountains to a “more developed area,” a plan that is also just a part of the poverty reduction plan of Guanxi province, where the average annual income for farmers is 6,971 yuan (P48,797) and around 6.34 million people live in poverty.
The province has an annual budget of 690 billion yuan for poverty reduction from the central government, private companies, and non-government organizations to eliminate poverty there by 2020.
Most of the money goes to infrastructure projects. “Roads and electricity and improvement of living conditions. Things like that,” Mo Yanshi, deputy director of the provincial poverty reduction, said.
The poverty reduction program
plan also includes assistance through seeds, fertilizer, and livelihood assistance to increase incomes throughout the province and, because the program is being implemented nationwide, throughout China.
The most important aspect of the poverty reduction program is subsidies in education to encourage the youth to pursue higher education.
The first nine years of school are free and students get yearly subsidies of 1,000 RMB (around P7,000) a year for two years of vocational school and 2,000 RMB a year for two years of university. The central government gives another 1,500 yuan a year for students in vocational schools. With university tuition costing around 6,000 yuan a year, this is a big help for poor families, a student interpreter with Mo said.
Despite the subsidies, an official with China’s foreign ministry made clear that the program is not a cash dole-out scheme. “If we give currency to the people directly, that is not a good way to do it,” the official, who declined to be named for lack of authority to speak on the matter, said.
China gives subsidies of 200 yuan a year to persons with disabilities and those who cannot work but the rest are expected to work with the tools and help that the government gives them.
They do not have to do it alone, though. Government agencies are assigned partner communities where they send personnel to conduct surveys and help residents plan the development of their areas. Private companies are also given tax breaks in exchange for helping with the poverty reduction program.
In some villages, like those near the Tengwang Woven Products Co., residents can earn from cottage industries like basketmaking which the privately-owned company buys from them and sells to foreign companies like US-based Wal-Mart.
The company, which provides livelihood for around 3,000 families in Duan, Guangxi province sells around 27.1 million RMB of products a year and pays villagers for products made from materials grown in their own backyard.
Mo said the poverty reduction program has made a lot of progress in the 30 years since it was launched. Ten years ago, he said, 10 percent of China’s poor came from Guangxi. In 2013, only seven percent of around 100 million poor Chinese came from the province.
Hua Kang chief Meng Shaokun said that although he is already wealthier than he was when he lived in the mountains—a recent-model Mazda sedan was parked in front of his house—that is only part of the “Chinese dream.”
His so-called Chinese dream is this: “The improvement of our life, then make much more contributions to society.” — ELR/KG/VC, GMA News
Pedestrian Over Bridge Front of Financial Department Beijing, China.