Over 40 Million Relieved of Poverty

During the ninth Five-Year Plan period (1996-2000) more than 40 million impoverished Chinese people will be relieved of poverty and the Chinese government's poverty relief plan will be realized, according to a spokesman for the State Development Planning Commission.

He said that by the end of this year, China will be able to basically solve the problem of providing enough food and clothing for its entire impoverished population.

The spokesman said that during the five years, China implemented the government's poverty-relief plan, adhered to the principle of relieving poverty through development, increased input in impoverished areas through various channels and found an effective way to develop poor areas.

During the five years, special money allocated for poverty relief, put in by the central government, is expected to exceed 94 billion yuan(about US$12 billion). The central government also gave powerful support to impoverished areas in large and medium-sized infrastructure projects, resource development and biological environmental protection projects, he said.

With concerted efforts by the whole society, the infrastructure, production and living conditions in impoverished areas have been largely improved, and science and technology, culture, health and other social affairs have made new progress in poor areas as well.

Statistics show that by the end of 1999, the number of poor people dropped from 70 million in 1995 to 34 million, and this year about 10 million more are expected to get out of poverty. The per capita income of farmers in 592 counties under the State's poverty line had been raised from 824 yuan (US$99.28) in 1995 to 1,347 yuan (US$162.29).

Some key impoverished areas have successfully got rid of poverty as a whole, such as the Yimeng mountainous areas, Jinggang mountainous areas, Dabie mountainous areas and the southwest part of Fujian Province. In Yimeng mountainous areas, farmers' per capita net income has reached 2,035 yuan (US$245.18).

The spokesman said that in impoverished areas, over 97 percent of the townships have access to roads and highways and a steady power supply. The dropout rates at schools have lowered to 6.9 percent, and 98 percent of the townships have hospitals. The labor quality and education in impoverished areas has also improved.

(Xinhua 09/22/2000)