The eradication of poverty in China requires a sustained, long-term effort and governments must do more to improve living conditions in underdeveloped regions, Premier Wen Jiabao said.
Wen said this in a written message delivered at the Second China Poverty Eradication Awards ceremony held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Tuesday October 17 was the 14th International Eradication of Poverty Day. Poverty eradication is a historical task for China, Wen said, adding that society should support and take part in the efforts being made and that anti-poverty models should be widely publicized.
Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said at the ceremony that this year marks the 20th year of the Chinese government's large-scale poverty eradication program.
He pointed out that China is still a developing country with low average per capita income. Disparities among regions and between urban and rural areas are still serious.
"Providing adequate food and clothing for poor people is essential in building a harmonious socialist society," Hui added.
The desire to care for the poor and fight poverty needs to be reinforced, he said, adding that the awards encourage society at large to help needy people and should be continued.
Awards were given to 12 people and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the fight against poverty.
(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2006)