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Xinjiang Aims to Eliminate Poverty in Three Years

Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region aims to help all poverty-stricken farmers and herdsmen become well-fed within the next three years, according to the regional government's new plan on poverty eradication.

The plan is also aimed at further raising the income and living standard of farmers and herdsmen who have already shaken off poverty.

Most of the farmers and herdsmen released from poverty are expected to live a fairly wealthy life and the majority of villages in the farming and pasture areas will have access to drinking water, highways, electricity and telecommunications services, and they will see significant improvement in health care, cultural and educational development over the next 10 years.

Statistics show that Xinjiang has been successful in poverty eradication, with 1.32 million needy farmers and herdsmen having become well-fed over the past eight years. The figure accounts for 75 percent of the region's total registered poverty-stricken population.

The ratio of poverty-stricken population in the farming and pasture areas has dropped from the former 20 percent in 1994 to the current 4.4 percent, according to statistics.

In the economically less-developed areas, farmers and herdsmen riding on horsebacks all the year become a scene of the past forever, as a total of 6,720 kilometers of highways have been constructed in the farming and pasture areas in the past seven years.

Some nomad ethnic groups have settled down. They have settled hospitals and their children now are studying at settled schools. Even in the mountainous areas, farmers and herdsmen have become closer to the outside world through telephones and television programs.

Xiong Huiyin, vice-chairman of the regional government of Xinjiang, said that the great achievement Xinjiang has made in poverty elimination is not only the fact that more than 1 million people have become well-fed, but more importantly, they have improved their production skills and personal capabilities, and they have learned to seek ways for becoming better-off.

(People’s Daily January 19, 2002)

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