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World Bank Says China Is Poverty Reduction Model
China has set an example internationally for reducing poverty, raising hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in 20 years, said Yukon Huang, chief of the World Bank (WB)'s resident mission in China.

The number of persons living in poverty in China was reduced from 250 million at the start of its reform process in 1978, to 80 million by the end of 1993 and to 29.27 million in 2001.

"The policy of fighting poverty through development proved very successful," said Huang, who has been director of the bank's China program since 1997.

The Chinese government has carried out a full-scale fight against poverty in an organized and planned manner over the past two decades, having amassed human, material and financial strength and mobilized all sectors of society for this purpose.

While increasing investment to improve production and living conditions in poverty-stricken areas, China has also paid more attention to ecological and environmental protection and to sustainable development.

At the same time, the Chinese government has actively studied the international anti-poverty experience and explored cooperation with international organizations in aiding the poor since the 1990s.

The World Bank, China's first and largest international partner in fighting poverty, has provided nearly US$35 billion to support more than 220 projects in the country over the last 20 years.

The China-WB joint projects in southwest China have cost a total of US$610 million and have benefited more than 8 million people from nine provinces and autonomous regions.

"China's experience is quite useful in teaching the bank about approaches to reduce poverty, which we can transfer to other countries," Huang said.

As for China, it still has a lot of hard work to do to enable people in poor areas to live a comfortable and well-off life, he said.

Weak infrastructure, a fast-growing population, poor natural conditions and a low standard of poverty relief are all factors which are expected to impede future progress in raising living standards in the world's most populous countries.

"The WB will work even more closely in support of the Chinese government's efforts to alleviate poverty," said Huang.

The World Bank will lend between US$1 and 1.5 billion annually to China, the largest recipient of World Bank loans, over the next several years, according to the chief.

A large percentage of the funds will go to China's interior provinces, to urban and rural poverty-stricken areas, and to environmental projects and social sectors, he added.

(Xinhua News Agency February 25, 2003)

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