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SCIO briefing on the timely achievement of poverty alleviation goals

The State Council Information Office held a press conference on Monday afternoon to brief the media on steps being taken to secure the timely achievement of China's poverty alleviation goals. May 22, 2020

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Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development


Hu Kaihong, spokesperson of the State Council Information Office


May 18, 2020

Hu Kaihong:

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to the press conference held by the State Council Information Office. In 2020, China will finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and meet the targets of the 13th Five-Year Plan. This is also the year for the completion of China's poverty alleviation tasks. Today, we have invited Mr. Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development. He will brief you on how we are securing the timely realization of China's poverty alleviation goals. He will also take your questions. Now, I give the floor to Mr. Liu.

Liu Yongfu:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good afternoon. Welcome to today's press conference. I would like to thank all of you for your long-term concern and support for China's poverty relief work.

This year, China will finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and meet the targets of the 13th Five-Year Plan. This is also the year for the completion of China's efforts in poverty alleviation. The Central Economic Work Conference held at the end of last year set out an overall plan for this year's work. The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has had a major impact on China's economic and social development, and posed new difficulties and challenges for poverty alleviation. The outbreak made it hard for poor laborers to go outside of their hometowns to seek jobs and for village-based officials to promote poverty alleviation. It impaired the business production and operation of impoverished households, and delayed the commencement of projects focused on poverty alleviation as well as the work and production resumption of such key businesses and workshops. At a symposium on March 6 dedicated to securing a decisive victory in poverty alleviation, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that lifting all rural residents living below the current poverty line out of poverty by 2020 is a solemn promise made by the CPC Central Committee, and it must be fulfilled on time. The CPC Central Committee has coordinated pandemic prevention and control with economic and social development, making plans and policies to eliminate poverty - a critical task that must be completed this year. Per important instructions given by General Secretary Xi Jinping and plans made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, all regions and government departments at all levels, especially those responsible for poverty alleviation, have risen to challenges and worked tirelessly to promote poverty alleviation.

With concerted efforts on all sides, positive progress has been achieved in poverty alleviation despite the impact of COVID-19. As of April 30, all officials assigned to work in poverty-stricken villages had reported for duty. Under the supervision of relevant authorities, a time limit had been set to promote poverty relief work in an orderly manner. The number of impoverished people going outside of their hometowns to seek jobs had reached 95.4% of last year's total. In central and western regions, 3.43 million poor laborers had taken rural public welfare posts. Additionally, 97.5% of leading companies and 97% of workshops dedicated to poverty relief had resumed work, and 82% of poverty alleviation projects had started construction. Sales of products contributing to poverty alleviation had reached 32.3 billion yuan. Funds and human resources allocated for coordinating poverty reduction efforts between eastern and western regions had been put in place, with both figures surpassing target goals. On the whole, the pandemic will not change the general course of poverty elimination, with its impact gradually being overcome. The goals and tasks involved in defeating poverty will remain unchanged, and we will never leave any loose ends, no matter the impact of the pandemic. The current poverty alleviation standard will remain unchanged and without any drop or increase. The timetable for eliminating poverty will also remain unchanged.

Next, we will take the following measures:

First, we will set a time limit on poverty relief work in designated areas and intensify supervision there. We will continue to oversee the poverty relief work in 52 poor counties and 1,113 villages where there are large impoverished populations and it is difficult to shake off poverty. We will urge the seven provincial-level regions that are involved to act on implementation plans, and we will encourage all counties and villages to implement their specific plans. We will focus on ensuring access to compulsory education, basic medical services, safe housing and drinking water for the poor, as well as providing follow-up assistance for residents who have been relocated from inhospitable areas. We will mobilize private enterprises and social organizations to aid poverty relief in designated villages. All of these efforts aim to ensure the timely achievement of all remaining poverty alleviation goals.

Second, we will strengthen poverty alleviation through employment. The number of migrant laborers in poverty in the country this year will exceed 28 million. The total number of migrant laborers in poverty from the central and western regions absorbed by the eastern regions this year will be on par with last year. The total number of poor migrant laborers from the central and western regions this year will be not less than last year. For enterprises to resume work, production and project constructions, the first priority will be arranging for laborers in poverty to work. And enterprises must continue to implement effective point-to-point connections, especially by generating employment for the laborers from the counties listed as impoverished. We will also strive to stabilize available jobs for poor migrant laborers who have gone out of town to work, and we will facilitate work for poor laborers who are willing to travel to work. We will support leading poverty alleviation enterprises and poverty alleviation workshops in the resumption of work and production, make good use of poverty alleviation public welfare posts, mobilize and organize the poor laborers, marginalized individuals, etc., to participate in the construction of projects that offer jobs as relief and, lastly, we will promote employment locally and in nearby regions.

Third, we will strengthen poverty alleviation by consumption. Poverty alleviation by consumption is an important measure to overcome the impact of the pandemic and boost the development of poverty alleviation industries, which should be combined with the "vegetable basket (non-staple food supply)" and "rice bag (grain supply)" programs in the eastern region and cities. The central and western regions should do their best in the production and identification of poverty alleviation products, while eastern regions should increase the sales of such products and solve the problem of poverty alleviation product sales through various methods, including purchases made by budget units, the establishment of a trading market and social participation in sales.

Fourth, we will bolster assessment and aids. We will enhance the assessment of households that are unstable during progress toward poverty alleviation - along with those that are vulnerable to or on the brink of poverty and those whose income has sharply decreased or whose expenditure has suddenly increased due to the pandemic or other reasons - and enact targeted assistance measures for them in advance. We will support the population segments that are on the brink of poverty but have the ability to work via various poverty alleviation policies, such as small-sum poverty alleviation loans with interest subsidies, skill training and poverty alleviation public welfare working posts. For the impoverished people who are unable to work, we will reinforce comprehensive supporting measures, such as minimum living support, medical insurance, and old-age insurance. 

We believe that with the strong leadership of General Secretary Xi Jinping and the CPC Central Committee, together with the joint efforts of the whole Party, country and all of society, and with the solid foundation laid by previous poverty alleviation efforts over the years, we have the confidence, conditions and abilities to win the battle against poverty on schedule!

Next, I am happy to answer your questions.

Hu Kaihong:

Thank you, Mr. Liu. Please ask your questions. Before you do, let us know the news organization you represent.

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