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Anti-poverty campaign takes to the skies

Xinhua,October 18, 2018 Adjust font size:

When passengers boarded plane CZ6929, operated by China Southern Airlines, on Wednesday morning, pictures of oranges and rural views were everywhere.

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard China Southern Airlines, today we will give you a glimpse of China's anti-poverty efforts in Xinning, a poverty-stricken county in central China's Hunan Province," said a steward via the plane's intercom service.

The pictures may have popped out of nowhere, but the anti-poverty theme did not just come out of thin air. Public attention is once again on poverty relief as Wednesday marks China's fifth national poverty alleviation day.

"We arrived early to decorate the cabin," said chief steward Yang Wei. "We put pictures of Xinning's beautiful landscape and its specialties inside the plane." Yang said they wanted to tell the public more about China's anti-poverty efforts via pictures, intercom services, videos and activities.

Xinning is a poverty-stricken county in Hunan's southwestern part, population 623,500. According to government figures, the county has more than 120,000 poor residents.

The plane flies between Changsha, capital of Hunan, and Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. As it took off at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, videos started to play of the airliner's staff helping Xinning locals out of poverty. After the plane climbed to cruising altitude, flight attendants began to tell their personal stories of poverty relief in Xinning.

"I worked in Xinning's Datang Village as a volunteer, and I felt people's simplicity there," said steward Jiang Shangqing. "They have great agricultural produce, but sadly they do not know how to sell the products to the outside world."

"I know that they want to make money with the oranges they grow from hard work, and their children want to go out of the mountains to study, and their dreams are coming true."

Some passengers offered to buy the oranges, and the attendants showed the barcode of a local company that collected the oranges from Xinning farmers.

After the story, the stewards began a question and answer contest, during which they asked questions about the county's tourism. They gave out gifts to the winners, including tickets to a tourist area in Xinning, and oranges grown in Xinning.

Jiang said she was "very proud to have helped the poverty alleviation campaign in such a special way."

The passengers were also impressed.

"We may be 10,000 meters above ground, but we are very close to poverty relief!" said a passenger surnamed Gao.

Authorities with China Southern Airlines said they would continue to implement the anti-poverty campaign using their resources in the air.

Over the past five years, more than 68 million people have been lifted out of poverty, including a total of 8.3 million relocated from inhospitable areas, and the poverty ratio has dropped from 10.2 to 3.1 percent, according to this year's government work report. The country is aiming to lift at least 10 million people out of poverty this year and eradicate poverty by 2020.