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Overcoming poverty in Guizhou,November 27, 2017 Adjust font size:

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A rural community in Guizhou, one of the poorest provinces in China. [Photo by Christopher Georgiou/] 

While China's last 40 years of rapid economic growth have been a rising tide that has lifted most boats, there remain pockets of exceptionally destitute areas across the nation – especially in the countryside. The government is now turning to targeted poverty alleviation in order to complete the job.

At the 19th CPC National Congress in October, General Secretary Xi Jinping declared that the "principal contradiction" facing the country is "unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life."

The government has therefore promised to deepen reform to achieve a "moderately prosperous society" by 2020.

But solving this contradiction will be a challenge, especially for local governments, which are faced with urgent poverty reduction tasks.

Guizhou, a southwestern province in the country, has set a trailblazing example of what can be achieved despite the obstacles. Though it is one of the poorest regions of China, its GDP grew at a rate of 10.5 percent in 2016, allowing an additional 1.2 million people to escape impoverishment.

Huamao Village in northern Guizhou provides an illustrative example of how to tackle poverty in remote areas.

Measures enacted by the local government have three broad objectives: to expedite the upgrading of the agricultural structure, to promote e-commerce, and to develop rural tourism.

The results have been remarkable. Huamao's GDP increased from 160,000 yuan in 2014 to 500,000 yuan in 2015, eventually reaching 1.05 million yuan in 2016.

The government developed the local infrastructure, including a newly-built 16 km road and an "internet plus" service center. E-commerce transactions subsequently increased by 20 percent in 2016.

Many former residents are now returning from the cities to start their own e-commerce businesses in the village.

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