China is the largest developing country in the world, its population making up about 22 percent of the earth's total. For quite a long time in the past, China was bedeviled by poverty, for various reasons.

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, and especially since the end of the 1970s, when China introduced the policy of reform and opening to the outside world, the Chinese Government, while devoting considerable efforts to all-round economic and social development, has implemented nationwide a large-scale program for development-oriented poverty relief in a planned and organized way. With the main objective of helping poverty-stricken people to solve the problem of food and clothing, this program has gone a long way toward alleviating poverty. Between 1978 and 2000, the number of poverty-stricken people without enough to eat and wear in the rural areas decreased from 250 million to 30 million, and the proportion of poverty-stricken people in the total rural population dropped from 30.7 percent to about three percent. The strategic objective set by the Chinese Government for enabling all poverty-stricken people in rural areas to have enough to eat and wear by the end of the 20th century has basically been realized.

The following is an introduction to China's development-oriented poverty relief for the rural areas: