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Migration Helps Reduce Poverty
“I earned 1,500 yuan (US$180) in the past growing 30 mu (5 acres) of red-skin wheat, but now I make over 6,000 yuan (US$720) on just 1 mu (0.17 acres) of green-house vegetables,” said Ma Ying from Shangdu County, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. She is one of 400,000 people who have lifted themselves out of poverty by resettling in places with better living conditions.

Since 2001, the State Development Planning Commission (SDPC) has allocated 1.9 billion yuan (US$230 million), plus the 850 million yuan (US$103 million) raised by local governments, to migrate 418,000 people out of poverty. Most of them have solved the problems of food and clothing, and some have even managed to get rich, according to Guo Peizhang, director general of the regional department of SDPC. This kind of migration strategy will play an increasingly important role in alleviating poverty in the future.

Migration will help those living in areas with frequent national disasters and adverse conditions shake off the plight of poverty. Inner Mongolia and Ningxia autonomous regions and Guizhou and Yunnan provinces were used to pilot the project. With preferential policies and supplementary capital from the state, many people have moved to areas with better production and living conditions and engaged themselves in more highly efficient agriculture and other high-income industries. Each person can claim 3,500-5,000 yuan (US$420-600) from the government, to assist in resettlement and the construction of necessary educational and cultural facilities. The funds needed for production will be raised by local governments, the villagers themselves and other poverty alleviation channels.

Of the four pilot autonomous regions and provinces, Inner Mongolia and Ningxia have developed ways of “expanding towns by migration” and “establishing new migrant villages.” The former refers to setting up leading industries such as vegetable planting and agricultural and herd product processing, thereby extending the channels open to migrant populations to get rich. The latter refers to the process of moving the poor to places with better farmland and water conservation conditions, thus building relatively large administrative villages. At the same time, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces resettled their migrants in both “centralized” and “decentralized” ways. “Centralized” means developing new farmland with improved irrigation facilities for the poor, while “decentralized” means contracting existing farmland within villages to offer better living conditions to migrants.

(China.org.cn by Li Jinhui, November 28, 2002)

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State Development Planning Commission
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