Opinion / Blog

Corruption and Dereliction of Duty, stay away from China’s anti-poverty plan

By leixiangping ( Updated: 2015-10-20 13:46

The irony is, the Mashan case is not an isolated one. Similar media exposure sees some people driving BMW cars while living in affordable housing. Actually, nobody in Mashan who barely meets the poverty standard can register as poverty status without the intentional approval of local authorities, the very reason why corruption arises in poverty reduction.

In China, local governments  dominate the distribution of poverty reduction resources. Whether people can benefit from the allocation of resources or not depends on their relationship with authority. After the central and provincial government approved poverty reduction funds, and distributed it down to the local government, it’s always the town or government who, depending on the village heads, decide who are poor and who are not when implementing poverty reduction policies.

For example, in the village where I grew up, I was once told that some real poor villagers who never flatter or bribe the village heads have little chance in receiving low-income allowances. So much so that many resources for the poor population only benefit the relatives of the village heads and those who know how to flatter the village heads.

The other problem is the dereliction of duty. The latest Xinhua report also states that nearly 100 million in poverty reduction funds was put into a savings account, and in turn has obstructed the construction of many intra structure projects in Mashan. From the perspective of good governance, it’s the local governments’ responsibility to use the poverty reduction funds efficiently.

Some local governments simply lack the responsibilities to govern. They might be good at getting poverty reduction funds from the central governments by fabricating good-looking proposals on how they would act to get people out of poverty. But they are lazy at turning good ideas into realities. Some local governments even fake their achievements by exaggerating the poverty severity in their places in order to get more money.

In China poverty reduction is transforming from an extensive method to a near accomplish. The central and provincial government just distributed funds to local governments to help establish projects. The problem is they hardly care about how the fund will be used. The central governments should strictly stipulate the usage of the poverty reduction resources and bring officials who violate the rules into justice. Corruption and dereliction of duty in poverty alleviation should be curbed if China really wants to remove the remaining poor population as planed.

Making sure poverty reduction resources are used for the right people is not only a matter of social equity, but also a matter of government credibility. The Chinese government on all levels must act quickly.

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