More Poverty Relief Goes to Ethnic Minority Areas

For poverty relief during the years 1994-2000, China put a total of 43.25 billion yuan into her predominantly ethnic minority impoverished areas in Inner Mongolia, Guangxi Zhuang, Tibet, Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions in addition to Guizhou, Yunnan and Qinghai provinces.

As things now stand in these areas, there has been a drop in the number of impoverished people to 14 million from 45 million in 1999. Farmers in these areas have come to claim an annual per-capita income of 1255.43 yuan to show a growth of 210 percent, pointing to the fact that poverty-relief work has made positive achievements in the impoverished ethnic minority areas in China.

That is what has been learned from the 17th Session of the 9th NPC Nationalities Committee called lately in Beijing, present at which was Tomur Dawamat, vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee.

Lu Feijie, director of Poverty-Relief Office of the State Council, made a report to the session on poverty-relief and development work carried out in the impoverished ethnic minority areas.

He said that during the 1994-2000 poverty-relief period government poverty-relief fund had been used primarily in 257 impoverished ethnic minority counties out of the country's 592 major impoverished counties and special funds had even been allocated depending on local difficulties and demands raised.

Meanwhile, international support has been sought to help out and to this end, a total of US$610 million have been obtained from the World Bank. Ten western provinces and regions had been backed with help from 9 eastern coastal provinces and 4 self-administered cities. By now, against an obvious decrease in the number of poor people there has been a fast increase of income by farmers and a marked improvement of people's life and infrastructure construction in the impoverished ethnic minority areas in China

But for various reasons poverty still poses a serious problem in the ethnic minority areas, said Lu. This is because a low income by a large number of impoverished people, making up as much as 36.5 percent of the country's living in utter poverty. Of these, a 6.5 percent relapse was even noted though having been helped out of poverty. Social development and education is still at a low undeveloped level. Illiteracy stands at over 30 percent.

There is nearly no infrastructure construction, no access of modern traffic and electricity to speak of for poor natural conditions vulnerable to various disasters. But a change, as is demanded, will be made to this impoverished state of things and increased funds will be provided by the state in support of economic development in the impoverished ethnic minority areas, he said.

Various views were aired and many suggestions made through a full discussion of the report. A consensus reached is that the stress of poverty-relief work in the years to come in China will be put on its impoverished ethnic minority areas because of their economic significance and political importance. Serious efforts will be made to see to it that the country's impoverished ethnic minority areas be helped out of their long-standing poverty in the way gaps between the undeveloped ethnic minority areas and developed regions are to be greatly narrowed at an early date, Lu said.

(People's Daily October 22, 2001)

In This Series

Majority of Chinese Expect Higher Income

White Paper Issued
On Rural Poverty-relief

Social Program Offers Help to the Poor

Guizhou to Eradicate Poverty in Five Years

Inner Mongolia Expects Migrations


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Water Access to Help Alleviate Poverty

Home-Grown Herbs Help Economy in a Poor Rural Area

Rural Towns Seek Ways to Expand Medical Services

Poverty Aid to Go to Minorities

Tibet Poverty Population Reduced Greatly

Northeast Asia Strives to Alleviate Poverty

NGOs Offer 30 Billion Yuan in Poverty-relief


Western Province Talking Point Special

Ethnic Minorities

Western China

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