China ready to share successes in poverty fight

Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, reads out a letter of congratulations sent from President Xi Jinping, and delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the International Forum on Sharing Poverty Reduction Experience in Beijing, Dec 14, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

President Xi calls for deepening of exchanges in poverty-alleviation experience worldwide

China has been pioneering poverty-reduction efforts in Asia and beyond over the past three decades, with notable progress, and it stands ready to share the lessons accumulated amid the painstaking process with countries in need.

That was the message sent out to world leaders on Monday by President Xi Jinping, as he addressed the International Forum on Sharing Poverty Reduction Experience in Beijing.

China is ready to work with all countries in promoting the process of international poverty reduction and building a community with a shared future for mankind, he said.

Xi called on the forum participants to deepen exchanges of experiences in poverty reduction, build broad consensus and boost confidence so as to contribute wisdom and strength to accelerate the international poverty-alleviation process.

In an initiative based on previous efforts, China launched in 2012 a comprehensive poverty-relief battle that was widely considered the world's largest and most challenging of its kind.

Through the eight years of sustained work, the country has lifted its entire population of rural impoverished residents, defined under the current income standard, out of poverty, Xi said.

China has now removed all poor counties from its poverty list and nearly 100 million people in rural areas have been lifted out of poverty, he said, calling the achievement a major contribution to global poverty-reduction work.

The view is widely shared by the international community and supported by latest figures.

In a pre-recorded speech on Tuesday, Ban Ki-moon, the chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia and former United Nations secretary-general, said China's success in curbing rural poverty is a valuable lesson that will empower other developing countries on their way toward sustainable development.

He said China has set a good example of how a committed and persistent government can transform economic development into increased quality of life.

According to the Asia Poverty Reduction Report 2020, compiled by BFA alongside China Agricultural University, Asia, especially East Asian countries, has been leading the poverty reduction cause worldwide since 1990, to which China is a major contributor.

More than half of the world's poor lived in East Asia and the Pacific region in 1990, compared with just slightly more than 6 percent in 2015, figures cited in the report showed.

China is the biggest contributor to the decline, the report highlighted.

The progress in Asia has fueled a constant plummeting rate of poverty globally. The report cited the World Bank as saying that the global extreme poverty rate was about 8 percent last year, a huge decline compared with 10 percent in 2015 and 35 percent 30 years ago.

While addressing the Dialogue on China's Poverty Reduction Experience held on Tuesday in Beijing, an online sub-forum of the International Forum on Sharing Poverty Reduction Experience, Vladimir Norov, secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, emphasized the successful experience of China-the first developing country to lift its citizens out of extreme poverty and achieve the zero-poverty goal in line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals identified in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a full decade ahead of schedule.

"That will be very useful for the entire international community and will allow us to map new ways to address this most important issue on the global agenda," he said.

Alain Wong Yen Cheong, ambassador of the Republic of Mauritius in China, said China's experience can be shared with other developing countries, in particular toward South-South exchange and related cooperation mechanisms.

"I myself have seen the development of Guizhou province and Gansu province, both are cases telling the results of the strategy that has improved the lives of its people," he said.

Rahamtalla M. Osman, permanent representative of the African Union to China, said Africa has a lot to learn from China.

"China's poverty reduction approach serves as a useful model for Africa," he said.

Despite the progress, many also expressed fears that the COVID-19 pandemic in rich and poor countries alike would erase the achievements.

In his speech on Monday, President Xi acknowledged that poverty-reduction efforts still face severe challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic rages globally.

A new study published by the United Nations Development Programme in December found that an additional 207 million people worldwide could be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030, due to the severe long-term impact of the coronavirus, bringing the total number to over 1 billion.

Ban Ki-moon has described the pandemic's impact as a public health emergency more critical than the Ebola crisis in 2015, and called on countries grappling with virus-induced economic woes to look to China and other best-performers in Asia for reference.

"At the moment, developing countries may evaluate the COVID-19 impact on most vulnerable regions, groups, and individuals, and take timely and concerted actions to contain the negative consequences of the 'Great Lockdown' on poverty reduction," he said.

"About which, China and Asian countries again provided good references and practical guides."

President Xi has also pledged that China will continue to advance its poverty-alleviation work, make more substantial progress in common prosperity for everyone, and improve people's livelihoods.