By the year 2010, the central government plans to have completed its envisioned goal of improving the lives of about 28 million rural people who currently live in extreme poverty, without adequate food or clothing, said a senior State Council official.
"Those living in absolute poverty shall be the first to be helped," said Gao Hongbin, vice-chairman of the State Council Leading Group for Poverty Reduction and Development.
Speaking at a national conference on poverty held on Thursday in Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, Gao said that most of the needy people live in ethnic minority areas, old revolutionary base areas, border areas and destitute areas in the central and western regions of China.
About 7 million of them are still living in areas that are unsuitable for human settlement, and they need to be moved, said Gao.
In the past decade, more than 2.7 million people moved to new areas under a government resettlement programme, and over 90 percent of them described their new life as "satisfactory," according to the official.
Relocation will be on a "voluntary" basis, Gao said, adding that the government will provide people making such moves with necessary assistance in building new homes and finding new sources of income.
Resettlement of each rural resident costs 5,000-10,000 yuan (US$602-US$1,204), and the government plans to spend 3-5 billion yuan (US$361-602 million) in the process.
(China Daily August 30, 2003)