SCIO briefing on securing a decisive victory in poverty alleviation

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I have a question for Mr. Liu. The year 2020 marks the target year for China's poverty alleviation endeavors, and less than 300 days are left before victory is secured. However,the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic has posed new challenges to the battle of poverty alleviation. Could you shed some light on the specific impacts of the epidemic on China's poverty alleviation efforts? There are some concerns that the poverty relief goals may not be achieved on time amid the epidemic. What do you make of that? Thank you.

Liu Yongfu:

Yes, you are right. When General Secretary Xi Jinping convened the meeting, we had 300 days left. Now we have only 294 days left. We are by no means saying that our poverty relief work will suddenly stop at a certain date, but there must be a "milestone" day. So, time is running out, indeed. The impact of the epidemic on poverty relief has been undeniable. But I would like to tell you that our confidence and resolution to fulfill the task will not alter due to the epidemic. We will stick to our goals and step up efforts.

The impacts of the epidemic are multifaceted. A major impact is the effect on the flow of people and goods due to the need for epidemic prevention and control. First, people's pursuit of work has been affected. A lot of impoverished households rely on finding employment outside their hometowns. Their pursuit of work has been affected, but the situation is changing for the better. Last year, 27.29 million poor people worked outside their hometowns. Until March 6, 2020, 14.2 million people had migrated outside their hometowns for work, accounting for 52% of the total number for last year. The number is slightly lower than in previous years. However, as our country turns a corner in epidemic control and the government has adopted a series of measures, the pace with which people are migrating outside their hometowns for work has accelerated. Between Feb. 28 and March 6, the number of migrant workers increased by three million. The pace is expected to continue to accelerate. Second, the sale of poverty relief goods has been affected, as well as tourism during the Spring Festival holiday. Although the spring is not a harvest season for most agricultural produce, the sale of some agricultural products in season has been affected. For example, the sale of Yunnan flowers has seen billions of yuan in losses, but we are gradually taking measures to cushion the impact. Third, the operation of poverty relief projects has been affected. Many projects that concern transportation,production, and drinking water need to be carried out at the village level. Until March 6, one-third of the projects had started. This work is also gaining momentum. As I said just now, the epidemic has affected our work in not a small way. But the impact has been lowered due to our measures. Some are trying to make up for the lost time. As the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens. Some short-term projects that are quick to yield profits have been launched. As we have finished the main work during the past years, we are confident about consolidating existing achievements and fulfilling the tasks on schedule. Thanks.

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