Keynote Speech at the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) on Poverty Alleviation

— Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

(Kunming, Yunnan Province, China, July 17, 2010)

Before the convening of the Summit of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, political party representatives from Asian countries have gathered here in the beautiful "Spring City" Kunming, to participate in the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) on Poverty Alleviation hosted by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Centering on "Helping the poor: Asian political parties' common responsibility," a theme of strong historical characteristics, the parties will exchange experiences that suit Asian countries' national conditions, on poverty alleviation and talk about the role of poverty alleviation in the realization of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. This will help promote tangible cooperation among Asian countries and political parties, offer better prospects for the lives of people to become better off and promote major international agendas. Here, I'd like to express warm congratulation on the convening of this conference and also a sincere welcome to all the representatives present here.

China is the world's largest developing country. The CPC and the Chinese Government have always attached great importance to poverty alleviation and development. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, especially since we adopted the reform and opening up policy in the late 1970s, the Chinese economy has maintained rapid and stable development, people's living conditions have gradually improved and the poverty population has sharply dropped. According to the Chinese Government's poverty alleviation criteria, China's rural population living in poverty has dropped from 250 million in1978, which accounted for 30.7 percent of the total rural population, to 35.97 million in 2009, or 3.6 percent. China has become the first country to realize the Millennium Development Goals of cutting its national absolute impoverished population by half, contributing much to the poverty reduction cause. In retrospect, we have reached the following conclusions:

First, economic construction should never stop as development is the most effective way to reduce poverty. Since 1978, China began to unswervingly adopt the policy of reform and opening up, focusing on economic construction and development, and tries to let the population share the benefits of economic growth. From 1978 to 2009, China's annual average GDP growth rate was registered at 9.8 percent, per-capita GDP jumped from $226 to $3,700 and urban and rural residents' income grew at about 7 percent annually on average. Agricultural production is moving on stably, with annual grain production growth rate surpassing population growth rate. The amount of meat, eggs, aquatic products, vegetable and fruit consumed per capita is growing fast. China successfully provides food security for 20 percent of the world's population on only 9 percent of the world's arable land and 6 percent of its fresh water. This is a solid material foundation for China to reduce poverty on a large scale.

Second, to coordinate urban and rural development and to better solve the problems of agriculture, rural areas and farmers. These are the Party's central works to create an environment favorable to poverty alleviation. Since the 16th National Congress of the CPC, in response to the striking conflict of dual urban and rural structure, weak agricultural basis, outdated rural development and farmers' low incomes, the CPC and the Chinese Government made the timely judgment that China has on the whole entered the stage of "industry promoting agriculture and cities supporting rural areas," formulating basic principles of industry feeding back agriculture, cities supporting agriculture and taking less but giving more to the rural areas and allowing the rural economy more flexibility.

We have made plans for the strategic task of building up a new socialist countryside, made clear the basic direction of taking the road of agricultural modernization with Chinese characteristics. We have set up basic requirements for accelerating the combination of urban and rural social and economic development. Using guidelines of a series of new concepts, we have made great efforts to adjust national income distribution structure, made greater input into the solutions of the problems of agriculture, rural areas and farmers. China has abolished agricultural taxes, set up an agriculture subsidy system; set in place free compulsory education systems and set up new rural cooperative medical care systems as well as a minimum living standards system in country areas. We have pushed forward new rural social endowment insurance system pilot programs. We have made continuous efforts to improve social aid systems to help the poor, to provide equal basic public services in urban and rural areas. These large measures provide system-based security for rural residents, including the poor population, and enable them to share in the fruits of social and economic development.

Third, to stick to the Party and the Government's guidelines and carry out development-based poverty-alleviation policy, so as to gradually raise the people's capacity of development in impoverished regions. Since the early 1980s, the CPC and the Chinese Government have formulated poverty alleviation strategies and policies suited to China's national conditions, and set up a leading institution to guide poverty alleviation work. We have implemented special plans to help impoverished regions and people living in poverty, including the Seven-year Priority Poverty Reduction Program, Outline of China's Poverty Alleviation in Rural Areas (2001-2010), helping impoverished areas with basic infrastructure construction, economic structure adjustment and ecological protection as well as development of resources. Meanwhile, we are actively helping people in poor regions to participate in poverty alleviation, and making them the major power in fighting against poverty. We have found a way with Chinese characteristics to carry out poverty-alleviation work in a well-planned and well-organized way on a large scale by continually increasing aid to the section of the population in poverty. The Party stresses its grassroots organizations' fortress function and Party members' leading roles in helping the public to help each other and achieve common prosperity.

Fourth, to mobilize all the people to participate in poverty alleviation and development cause. Government departments and relevant organizations are designated to certain areas for poverty alleviation work. The relatively developed eastern regions are required to help the central and western regions. Party and government bodies, and people's organizations as well as large-scale state-owned enterprises have been designated to help more than 400 poor counties out of poverty. The economically developed eastern provinces, municipalities and prefectures have been designated to help 11 western provinces and prefectures. Meanwhile, we have pushed forward the "Hope Project," to help impoverished children with schooling. Civilian-run corporations have participated in the alleviation-oriented "Cause of Glory" and "Happiness Project" to help poor mothers, and also the "Rain Plan" to help improve people's ability to find work or start their own businesses in impoverished rural areas. Through various programs participated in by the whole of society, we have greatly pushed forward the development of impoverished areas, increased people's incomes and inspired the whole of society's sense of responsibility.

Fifth, stick to international cooperation in poverty alleviation work so as to exchange experience and support poverty alleviation causes in Asia and the world. The CPC and the Chinese Government actively cooperate with relevant international organizations, bilateral institutions and nongovernmental organizations and jointly implement various types of poverty-alleviation programs and activities. With an open mind, we learn from other countries and international organizations' new concepts and methods in poverty alleviation, explore new mechanisms and train skilled workers. Our outstanding achievements in this regard have further enriched and pushed forward China's own poverty alleviation work. At the same time, we are trying to promote the common development of the rest of the world and expand our common interests. While realizing its own development, China is also paying attention to other countries, especially developing countries' work, in this regard. While trying to tackle its own poverty problems, China also actively participates in Asian and global poverty alleviation efforts, offering the aid within its capacity to many other developing countries. International study and training classes, forums and seminars on development and poverty alleviation help the sharing of knowledge and experience in development and poverty alleviation among countries.

Although China has achieved a lot in economic and social development as well as poverty alleviation work, it remains a developing country, with per-capita low-income levels and unbalanced development in different regions. China has a large poor population, who are living in deep poverty due to various reasons. This makes it still very difficult for China to eliminate poverty.

At the 17th CPC Congress, the CPC explicitly pointed out the goal of basically eliminating absolute poverty by 2020.We are now working on poverty alleviation planning for rural areas for the next 10 years. Based on effective principles and polices of the past, we will adopt more effective measures to help impoverished regions to realize better and faster economic and social development, so people there will enjoy better lives and share in more of our development achievements. China will try to push forward the global poverty alleviation cause, accelerate the progress of the Millennium Development Goals and push forward common development through its own poverty alleviation efforts, peaceful development and prosperity.

Just now Mr. Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President of the People's Republic of China, explicitly pointed out in his speech, that poverty alleviation and development are the common challenges facing the international community. The CPC, the Chinese Government and the Chinese people will continue to work for the realization of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.

The Communist Party of China successfully held the Third International Conference of Asian Political Parties in Beijing in 2004. The conference issued the Beijing Declaration based on all parties' consensus. There was a proposal to create a great world of common prosperity without poverty. This year the CPC, as the host, convened the special conference on poverty alleviation under the framework of International Conference of Asian Political Parties and again it is doing something for tangible cooperation among Asian parties. We are honored to be able to do so. In the past two days, you had a tiring trip to Yunnan's rural areas to investigate in-depth China's detailed methods in poverty alleviation. These new experiences will bring us closer and inspire a number of great ideas, so we can better share each other's experience and understanding. I believe this conference will surely be a fruitful and effective event, which will help promote friendly cooperation among Asian parties and parties in developing countries. It will contribute to pushing forward poverty alleviation and development which is the focus of close international attention, as well as the development and prosperity of Asia and the whole world. Let us make joint efforts and take joint action to work toward the realization of the Millennium Development Goals as well as a prosperous and harmonious Asia.

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