Covid-19 threatens China's 'milestone' of poverty eradication 6

Covid-19 threatens China's 'milestone' of poverty eradication 6

Mr. Xi expected 2020 to be a milestone in the fight to eradicate poverty in China, but Covid-19 threatened to `overturn` previous efforts.

Ending extreme poverty is one of the fundamental goals that President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party set for 2020. However, the Covid-19 outbreak caused China to close down many

As a result, China’s economy in the first quarter decreased by 6.8% compared to the same period last year.

After controlling the pandemic, the Chinese government has made efforts to restore the economy.

`Before Covid-19 appeared, China had about 5 million people living below the poverty line. But the pandemic may have caused many people to fall back into poverty. Therefore, we are facing a heavier task to complete

Many experts believe that whether Mr. Xi can achieve his goal of eradicating poverty depends on whether Beijing’s economy returns to growth quickly or slowly.

`They could get very close to eliminating poverty, if employment improves by the end of this year. But this is definitely a difficult problem,` said Scott Rozelle, co-director of the Rural Education Program at

A photo of President Xi Jinping shaking hands with people was posted on the bulletin board of Truong Trang village, Henan province, China, in September 2017.

China is one of the countries with the highest poverty rates in the world.

Statistics in 1990 showed that China had nearly 658 million people living below the poverty line, but this number has decreased significantly over the past few decades.

Shenjing He, a professor at the University of Hong Kong, said the number of people in extreme poverty remaining is relatively small, but they are the group most affected.

The Chinese government pledged to spend 146 billion yuan ($20.6 billion) on poverty eradication by 2020, not including additional contributions from local governments and private enterprises, such as Alibaba or Tencent.

More than 750,000 party members were sent to many villages across the country to assess poverty, as well as conduct face-to-face interviews with people, according to state media.

Local officials’ solutions for poverty eradication are very diverse.

However, there are some controversial measures such as moving millions of poor people from rural areas to urban areas.

The unemployment rate in China has increased because of Covid-19.

This number does not include rural communities or the 290 million immigrant workers in construction, manufacturing or other essential but low-paid activities.

A survey of rural families conducted by Stanford University’s Rural Education Action Program (REAP) in the first four months of this year showed that 92% of respondents experienced a decrease in income.

The average income of half of the survey participants decreased from 281 to 704 USD in March. To cope with this situation, many families have to eat rice with vegetables and cut out all meat and fish in meals.

Research by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) shows that about 80% of workers in the agricultural sector said their income decreased by more than 20%.

The June floods, considered the worst in decades, pushed many rural communities further into misery.

John Donaldson, an expert on poverty eradication and associate professor at Singapore Management University, said Covid-19 is the `worst storm` for China’s poor, and affects many sectors.

Covid-19 threatens China's 'milestone' of poverty eradication

President Xi Jinping visited the economic reform zone in Thai Nguyen city, Shanxi province, on May 12.

Despite these difficulties, the Chinese Communist Party and state media have stepped up a campaign to reassure people that the government will achieve its goal of eradicating poverty.

In early June, Mr. Xi went to Ninh Ha province, in the north of the country, visited many families and stopped by a factory built with poverty alleviation capital.

Experts mostly agree that it is very unlikely that the Chinese government will announce that it cannot achieve its poverty eradication goal by the end of this year.

But many people worry that even if Beijing announces the eradication of extreme poverty by the end of this year, improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people is still a `long way off`.

For many years, Mr. Xi has always declared that China will become a `prosperous society`.

Donaldson said what he is most concerned about is that when China announces it has eliminated extreme poverty, local officials may no longer consider poverty an important issue, even though millions of people still need urgent assistance.

`I mean how many people in China are still in poverty after this campaign. No one can know,` he said.

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