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Chinese Ambassador H.E. Liu Hongyang's Article "China's Stories of Poverty Alleviation" Published on Daily Times

2021-04-22

On 22 April 2021, an article titled "China's Stories of Poverty Alleviation" by H.E. Liu Hongyang, the Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, was published on Daily Times, one of Malawi's leading newspaper. Following is the full text of the article:

On 6th April, 2021, China's State Council Information Office issued a white paper titled "Poverty Alleviation: China's Experience and Contribution" (full text:http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2021-04/06/c_139860414.htm), which marked that the Communist Party of China (CPC) fulfilled its solemn promises, and victory in the battle against poverty in China in the new era is complete. China has followed a people-centered and development-oriented approach, to promote the course of poverty alleviation basing on China's reality and making full use of the strength and wisdom of the people. China's practice and experience have explored a new path for the course of poverty alleviation of the humankind.

Poverty is a chronic affliction of human society and a common challenge faced by the whole world. Poverty and its associated problems, including hunger, diseases, and social conflicts, are serious impediments to people's pursuit of a better life, so the eradication of poverty has always been a wish to be fulfilled. The history of humankind is the history of relentless struggle against poverty.

China is the world's largest developing country, with a population of 1.4 billion. In addition to its weak foundations and uneven development, the nation had long been plagued by poverty at a scale and a level of severity that has rarely been seen anywhere else in the world. As a result, the challenge of poverty alleviation in China almost defies imagination.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Over the past century, the Party has united and led the Chinese people in the battle against poverty with unwavering faith and will. Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the Party Central Committee, with General Secretary Xi Jinping at the core, has fought a decisive battle against poverty that is unprecedented in scale and intensity, and has benefited the largest number of people in human history. At a grand gathering held on February 25, 2021, to mark China's achievements in poverty alleviation and to honor its model fighters against poverty, General Secretary Xi solemnly declared: Victory in the battle against poverty is complete, and China completed the arduous task of eliminating extreme poverty.

Poverty is not predestined, nor is it unconquerable. China's experience in poverty alleviation indicates that courage, vision, sense of responsibility, and the eagerness to take on challenges are the most essential. With strong will and determination, as well as practical action, one can make steady progress towards overcoming poverty and realizing common prosperity.

I would like to take this opportunity to share a few stories of China's poverty alleviation.

1.Targeted poverty alleviation.

In June 2018, during my trip to Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region's Baise City, I visited the Baini Village. At that time, Huang Wenxiu, a young CPC member, was serving there as the Party chief. In 2016, Huang graduated from Beijing Normal University with a master's degree, thanks to the support by the Party and local government. Instead of seeking a career in Beijing, she volunteered to join the poverty alleviation team in her hometown Baise City and was dispatched to Baini Village after graduation. Despite being remote and isolated, the village has favorable conditions for planting tangerine. Huang led the villagers to develop the tangerine industry, yielding 250,000 kilograms tangerines compared with previous year's 30,000 kilograms. To spice up tangerines gross sales, Huang led villagers to develop e-commerce to promote on-line sales, bringing the growers' yearly profits to more than 100,000 RMB yuan (about 15288 dollars). In 2018, 418 villagers of 88 households in Baini Village were lifted out of poverty, and the poverty rate of Baini Village dropped from 22.9% to 2.7%, ranking first in the town. The villagers said, "In the past, we worked every day without any hope. But Huang's leadership paved the way to a wealthy and good life." In a rainy night in June 2019, worrying about the heavy rain could affect the villagers, Huang returned to her village overnight, yet unfortunately died in a flash flood. Huang sacrificed her life for course of combatting poverty.

2.Turning disadvantages into advantages.

In November 2019, I and my family members went to Atulie'er village, an Internet-famous tourist attraction in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Sichuan Province. It is also widely known as the "Cliff Village", as it is perched on an 1600-meter-high cliff. In the past, residents of this village lived in poverty and had to use the 800-meter-long rattan ladders to scale the cliff, which could be very dangerous. In 2016, the local government invested over 1 million RMB yuan (about 15,000 dollars) to build a 2,556-step and nearly 3-km-long steel ladder, making it safer for villagers to climb up and down the cliff. Thanks to the local government, water, electricity and 4G networks and tourism promotion services are now accessible to the villagers. With proper publicity, in 2019 only, more than 100,000 tourists went to appreciate the "Cliff Village", which greatly increased the income of local villagers. In 2019, the per capita annual income of the low-income villagers has risen from less than 2000 yuan (about 300 dollars) in 2014 to more than 6000 yuan (about 900 dollars). Back in May 2020, with Government's poverty alleviation relocation policy, all the 84 poor households of Atulie'er village were relocated to new houses at a resettlement site down the cliff in the county, leaving backwardness, isolation and poverty on clifftop.

3.E-commerce to eradicate poverty.

In the Spring Festival of 2020, I bought 2 boxes dried persimmons, the traditional Chinese finger-food, for my family in China through the live webcast platform while in Malawi. The dried persimmons were made by more than 300 poor peasants in Fuping County, Shaanxi Province. Dried persimmons are very popular and always in short supply during Spring Festival seasons. With the Covid-19 pandemic, traditional way of selling dried persimmons were affected, making Cai Yaling, the production manager, overwhelmed by a surge of anxiety of the peasants. Knowing this, one of the China's top e-commerce livestreamers immediately decided to come to her rescue, with thousands of kilograms of dried persimmons sold out within a few hours. After that, Cai Yaling realized that poverty alleviation can't be achieved only with other people's help, but more importantly, self-reliance and determination to get rid of "blood transfusion". Therefore, she set up her own livestreams platform, which narrowed the distance between her less-developed hometown and external markets. At the same time, she started to standardize and upgrade the production line, to enhance the competitiveness of the products. With all these efforts, she successfully sells poverty-alleviation products to the world.

In the past 8 years, thousands of stories of poverty alleviation have been staged in China. The achievements of China's fight against poverty is not only the result of a few people or villages alone, and more importantly, the result of solidarity and endeavour of all the Chinese people under the leadership of the CPC. This victory is composed by sweat, tears and dedication, even sacrifice. With nearly one-fifth of the world's population, China has shaken off poverty, making it possible for all the people being free from worries over food and clothing, and Chinese people enjoy compulsory education, basic medical services and safe housing. Stories of China's poverty alleviation has strengthened the confidence of countries around the world in fighting poverty, and provided theories and practical experience.

China's development and battle with poverty has accelerated the process of global poverty alleviation, and has made indelible contribution to the course. China will continue to work with developing countries including Malawi, on exchanging experience in the area of poverty alleviation and promoting development, to shake off poverty and build a community with a shared future for mankind.

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