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Xinhua Insight: Eradicating poverty: Chinese bring millennia-old vision to reality

Xinhua by Chen Siwu, Yang Jing and Pang Mingguang, May 3, 2017 Adjust font size:

Over 2,000 years ago when Confucius taught his thoughts on building a prosperous society, most Chinese muddled along on half-full stomachs. Even the sage himself suffered times of hardship.

Confucius's 79th generation descendant, Kong Xianli, however, now believes what the Chinese have dreamed of for over a millennia -- a moderately prosperous, or "Xiaokang," society -- is finally coming true.

"An overall Xiaokang society will become reality in our generation, as the government and enterprises, state-owned or private, are helping those rural impoverished out of poverty," said Kong, who has been sent to Yangxiedi village in Nanhua County by the local justice bureau in southwest China's Yunnan Province to help the poor. "The aspiration for the rural impoverished to break loose from poverty is unprecedented."

According to the official definition, a "Xiaokang" society refers to an economic state whereby the people become relatively well-off after eliminating poverty, with access to compulsory education, basic medical care and safe homes, as well as food and clothes.


Like Yangxiedi, whose name means "resting place for goats" in Chinese, 128,000 impoverished villages are now in the center of a great transition across China. The Chinese government has vowed to lift all rural impoverished out of poverty by 2020 to build a moderately prosperous society.

Since China started the reform and opening-up drive more than 30 years ago, over 700 million Chinese have shaken off poverty at dazzling speed, accounting for over 70 percent of the global poverty reduction in the period.

However, at the end of last year, China still had more than 43 million impoverished rural residents, making up up about 4.5 percent of the country's total rural population.

For the outside world, it may seem too simple to assess China's anti-poverty achievements by looking at figures alone.

For those living in poverty in mountainous areas in southwest China's Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces, poverty reduction is complicated. It means building roads and bridges, raising poultry and livestock, planting fruits and herbs, or seeking jobs in cities.

Luo Zhiming, an ethnic Miao in Ximatang village in Luquan County, Yunnan, had lived in the mud-brick house built by his father for 28 years.

"The roof leaked whenever it rained. Cold winds swept in from the cracks during winter," Luo said, recalling their tough days when his family just about fed themselves by growing corn in a terraced field.

His fate changed dramatically a few months ago when the government launched a nationwide drive to end poverty. Luo and his neighbors have now moved into 52 uniformly designed and newly built two-storey houses, with sofas, tea tables, TV benches and other furniture.

"I never expected this even in my dreams," Luo said.

To help build the new houses for Luo and his neighbors at Ximatang, the local government subsidized each impoverished household with 40,000 yuan (about 5,800 U.S. dollars) in cash and another 40,000 yuan in loans at subsidized interest.

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