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Spring Festival fund helps poor and disabled

By Chen Mengwei | | Updated: 2017-01-23 19:33

The Ministry of Civil Affairs has responded to Premier Li Keqiang's call to help people in hardship this Spring Festival, allocating 5.7 billion yuan for food and shelter for more than 50 million Chinese.

The ministry estimated that 52 million people would depend on the food subsidy and 17 million needed extra clothes to stay warm this winter.

Civil affairs vice minister Gong Puguang told a press briefing on Monday that 80 percent of the funds have gone directly into the pockets of people in need and promised others would soon receive their share.

As many as 24 provinces, including Hubei, Sichuan and Guizhou, have given out 790 million yuan to the poor, while provinces like Hebei, Anhui and Hunan have spent 235 million yuan buying cotton quilts and coats for residents.

To make sure the fund is being spent in the right place, the ministry has sent senior officials to join the central government's inspection team to provinces like Hebei, Fujian and Hubei. Gong said the results so far seemed positive.

As of November, 45.6 million rural residents in China were living on the government's minimum allowance.

They benefited from 88.5 billion yuan between January and November, 10 percent more than the previous year, according to Gong.

China has the largest number of people with disabilities with almost 32 million officially registered as of December. In many rural areas, having a disability condemns them to a life of poverty. Their wellbeing has long concerned China's top decision makers, especially given the ongoing nationwide effort to lift everybody out of poverty by 2020. State Councilor Wang Yong said last year that helping people with disabilities out of poverty will essentially solve the nation's poverty challenge.

Yu Jianliang, the ministry's director of social welfare and promotion of charities, said the ministry has worked with the China Disabled Persons' Federation to make sure every eligible person gets the stipend they deserve under a new act promoted last year.

By the end of November, 8.4 million people with disabilities received their allowances, and 8.7 million with severe disabilities received extra financial support. Yu said the effort will continue, especially in less developed areas.

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