China / Society

China strengthens poverty relief campaigns

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-10-15 09:07

BEIJING - As China prepares for the country's first "Poverty-Relief Day" on October 17, forums and fundraisers have been arranged to hone in on areas in need of poverty alleviation.

All-levels of government, military, enterprises and schools, will recognize "Poverty-Relief" day with video conferences, special forums and other activities, according to the State Council Leading Group Office for Poverty Alleviation and Development.

Approved by the State Council on August 1, the day is designed to strengthen campaigns involved in fighting poverty.

"As many as 310 central government organs have been arranged with targeted poverty relief work for 592 key counties that receive relief and preferential policies," Zheng Wenkai, deputy director of the Poverty Alleviation and Development office, said.

The government will use the upcoming "Poverty-Relief Day" to provide funds, labor and other help to industries such as energy and e-commerce, both big factors in helping develop poor areas, in poverty-stricken counties.

"With social support, modern marketing and improved transportation infrastructure, we can make breakthroughs in poverty relief," said Zheng.

Meanwhile, the poverty relief system used to help impoverished counties will be reformed, with special attention paid to "foul play" by county governments, said Su Guoxia, another senior official with the Poverty Alleviation and Development office.

She says the current system has certain loopholes. There are counties that appear to be wealthy with lavish city buildings but actually have large populations of poor. There are also counties that are unwilling to be delisted as "poverty-stricken counties", despite being more developed, in order to receive support.

"Management and supervision of the funds raised for the day will be strictly guaranteed," Zheng said.

The office will also carry out measures such as detailed assessment on ecology and investment, regulations urging more input in how to improve people's livelihood and more comprehensive and incentive-based system for helping counties exit poverty status, Su added.

In just over three decades, 600 million people have moved out of poverty. At the end of 2013, 82 million people remained in poverty in rural areas, down 16.99 million from 2012, according to the office.

Rural people with an annual net income per capita of 2,300 yuan (374.54 US dollars) or less are classified as poor under the poverty standard adopted in 2011, up from the 1,274 yuan previously.

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