China's poverty relief benefits neighboring countries

International Exchanges

China's poverty-relief campaign has brought benefits at home and abroad.

XinhuaUpdated: June 21, 2018

China's poverty-relief campaign has brought benefits at home and abroad.

"We are willing to share our experience in poverty reduction with the rest of the world and make utmost efforts in helping others. We are especially willing to bring benefits to neighboring countries in South and Southeast Asia with our development to realize social stability and economic prosperity in the region," said Ruan Chengfa, governor of southwest China's Yunnan Province, at a sub-forum of the fifth China-South Asia Expo, which concluded Wednesday.

Since the reform and opening up, large-scale development-oriented poverty relief efforts led by the Chinese government have yielded significant results. Between 1978 and 2014, over 700 million people in China were lifted out of poverty, known as "Poverty reduction with Chinese characteristics."

From 2012 to 2017, China lifted nearly 70 million rural people out of poverty, and the poverty rate fell from 10.2 percent to 3.1 percent.

According to the forum organizer, with cooperation and exchanges enhanced between China and countries in South and Southeast Asia, a series of poverty reduction cooperation projects have been launched over the past years.

The projects alleviate poverty in targeted areas, improve conditions in communities, enhance self-development, diversify streams of income, and provide examples for countries to eliminate poverty and improve livelihoods, according to Ruan.

As a border province in southwest China and a gateway to Southeast and South Asia, Yunnan has invested more than 38 billion yuan (US$5.9 billion) over the past five years to lift nearly 5.6 million people out of poverty, with the provincial government and local enterprises successfully sharing their experience in poverty relief with countries in the wider region.

In 2006, the Yunnan State Farms Group established a subsidiary company in Laos and launched a project to develop the country's natural rubber plantation to help locals escape poverty.

The company has opened 18 rubber planting bases in nine counties in Laos with a plantation area of nearly 6,000 hectares, employing more than 6,000 local villagers and more than 100,000 short-term workers. The annual income per villager has increased to 20,000 yuan from 2,000 yuan.

The huge rubber market potential also attracted locals to plant a further 7,300 hectares of rubber trees in the region, creating demand for professional in the industry.

"A good rubber tapper can collect latex without doing too much harm to a rubber tree, which can be harvested for as long as 30 years instead of the normal 10 years," said He Jianchun, a deputy manager in the company.

From 2010 to 2017, the company provided 800,000 sets of rubber tapping tools and helped train 4,500 villagers to improve their rubber tapping technology.

The 24-year-old Lao resident Naingwin and her husband are both beneficiaries of the project.

Before 2007, the only thing that Naingwin could do for a living was farming in Pentong Village where four of her family were crowded in a small thatched cottage.

"Life was rough. We ate what we planted and barely had any income," Naingwin said.

A life-changing opportunity came in 2011 when she started working at the Chinese company's rubber planting base in Xayabouly, one of the largest rubber trees planting regions in Laos.

She and her husband are responsible for gathering latex from rubber trees. Their jobs now bring her family more than 50,000 yuan a year.

"We can support our children for school. We even have our own motocycle and have renovated our house with the subsidy of our company. I had never even dreamed of our current life," Naingwin said.

Bin Parasi, head of Pentong Village, said the development of the rubber plantation industry not only increased the income of villagers, but helped locals build infrastructure such as roads and water facilities, as well as enhance communal environment.

"We are confident that we will have a better life in the future," Parasi said.