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Put an End to Absolute Poverty, Pave the Way for Common Prosperity
2021/03/15

  Poverty is a malaise of all human beings, and the combat against it is a major event for global governance. This explains why "ending poverty in all its forms everywhere" is listed as the top 1 priority for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, the final resolution of the problem also entails the joint efforts of everyone in this globalized world. "When there is leadership and strong political will, everything is possible. If China, with a vast population of 1.4 billion people, can do it, I think the rest of the world can do it too," said Siddharth Chatterjee, the UN Resident Coordinator in China.

  When the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was founded on October 1, 1949, China was one of the poorest and most backward countries in the world—its GDP per capita merely 30 USD back then, but has grown to over 10,000 in 2020, as the Communist Party of China (CPC) has led the people in fighting poverty since then. On February 25, 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping solemnly hailed the comprehensive victory of the poverty alleviation in China at a grand gathering to mark the country's accomplishments in this onerous and painstaking mission. Whether it is snow-covered plateaus, deserts or remote mountain areas, the sunshine of poverty alleviation shines on every corner, and countless people’s lives have changed, their dreams realized and their happiness achieved. Many once-impoverished people said farewell to one-rope bridges, bitter and salty water, and homes made of mud and straw, and embraced modern transportation, clean drinking water and sturdy brick homes. In 2020, It is fair to say that China has actively explored a poverty reduction path with Chinese characteristics and scored remarkable achievements in poverty eradication.

  Following the World Bank criteria, the Chinese population lifted out of poverty accounts for over 70 percent of the world's total. China achieves the poverty reduction goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. All above showcase a substantial contribution of China to the global cause in fighting against poverty and promoting human rights. As some countries, turning a blind eye to their domestic human rights infringement, accuse China of the same count with baseless proofs, China has forged ahead with its down-to-earth manner in the cause of protecting the foremost human rights—the right to live, to develop and to enjoy life. Now it is time for the success to be recognized.

  What are China’s major efforts in poverty alleviation? Why they work wonders? I would like to share China’s practices with Grenadian friends from three major aspects:

  Strong leadership. Philanthropy conduce to, but is no panacea to the complications of poverty. Poverty eradication is a fight—thereafter the heavy cost it requires and the challenges it posts can only be covered and faced by a government bent on defeating it. Under the leadership of the Communist party of China, the whole nation forms a common will and joint action for poverty alleviation, and the government extensively mobilized all sectors of society to tackle tough problems. Over the years, 255 thousand working groups and 2.9 million public servants have been sent to villages in poverty; 109.5 thousand private business have risen to the call of the government to participate in assistance programs; in 2020, 200 billion RMB (30 billion USD) turnover was achieved in purchasing products from poor villages, despite the negative effect of the COVID-19.

  People-centred philosophy. President Xi once said that “the people's wish for a good life is our goal”. China has always been firm in standing on people's position, emphasizing that eradicating poverty, improving people's livelihood, and achieving common prosperity are the essential requirements of good governance, an important manifestation of the CPC’s fundamental purpose of serving the people wholeheartedly, and a major responsibility of the party and the government. The satisfaction of the people in need is regarded as an important yardstick for measuring the effectiveness of poverty alleviation, a mature evaluation system that provides feedback and underwrites the ultimate goal. When it comes to the immediate interests of the people, cost-effectiveness are our bonds—in China, special fund worth 1.6 trillion RMB (239 billion USD) has been invested in poverty eradication since 2013.

  Sophisticated strategy. “Teaching one fishing is better than offering him fish.” China addresses poverty reduction by enhancing the skills of the impoverished population and improving their capacity for self-development. Mechanism to liberate the productivity of the poor, making them not only beneficiaries of distribution, but also contributors to growth, and promote the realization of a more balanced and fair development of the entire society. More importantly, the method of targeted poverty alleviation is widely applied—as the government pinpoints the root causes of poverty and find tailored solutions for different regions and even individuals, the effectiveness and endurance of the poverty eradication efforts are ensured. Therefore, by adhering to the development-based poverty alleviation policy--improve development conditions and enhance development capabilities, China paved a solid and stable way for eliminating poverty.

  The channel of sharing knowledge and experience China has gained over the years is unimpeded. China actively carries out international cooperation in poverty reduction, fulfils its international responsibilities and provides assistance within its capacity to developing countries. In the future, China would like to work together with all countries, Grenada included, as it is faced with the blast of the pandemic and the apprehension for increasing poverty incidence, to earnestly meet the call of all human beings for a better life by engaging in poverty alleviation around the world, and push forward the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

  (The author is the Chinese Ambassador to Grenada, H.E. Wei Hongtian.)

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