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Province Helps More Ethnic Minority People Shake Off Poverty

To date,the inland province of Gansu,northwest China,has helped 1.63 million ethnic minority people out of poverty, with poverty rates among local ethnic people dropping from 86.17 percent in 1982 to 7.67 percent in 2000.

Ethnic minority groups account for 9.3 percent of the provincial population,and inhabit 38 percent of the province's total land space. Many ethnic minority people live in regions vulnerable to natural disasters such as drought, hailstorms,agricultural diseases and insect pests.

Over the past 20 years,Gansu has poured 2.308 billion yuan (US$278million) into poverty eradication in areas inhabited by ethnic minority people.This accounts for 17.69 percent of the total amount used in the province for eliminating poverty.

The money spent was mainly used to help ethnic minority people construct water conservancy and power facilities, water supply projects for domestic animals and local residents,and construction of farmland.

As a result, irrigated farmland in the 12 counties inhabited by ethnic minority people has expanded from the 20,000 hectares in 1982 to about 54,000 hectares by the end of 2000. In addition,the terraced field acreage in the 12 counties has grown from 16,000 hectares to more than 93,000 hectares over the same period.

Thanks to the construction of a large group of water projects,one million people and 5 million domestic animals now have access to safe drinking water. A dozen hydropower plants constructed over the past 20 years now provide enough electricity for daily use and farming needs of local farmers.

Apart from infrastructure construction,Gansu Province has also helped ethnic minority people develop a series of special industries with ethnic characteristics.The per capita income of local farmers has risen from 66 yuan(US$7.98) in 1982 to 1,068 yuan(US$129.20) at the end of 2000.

(eastday.com January 14, 2002)

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