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CIPG: Take Responsibility for Poverty Reduction by Li Fugen, Wei Bo, Wang Qian, June 8, 2017 Adjust font size:

There is an old saying, "“A target aimed at by 10,000 people is impossible to miss.” China’’s ongoing poverty reduction program beckons the efforts of people from all walks. China International Publishing Group (CIPG) is one of the many participants in this extensive endeavor. The group has done its utmost since 2002 to help the people of Zuoquan County in Shanxi Province to rise from poverty.

Change the Mindset of Young Officials

“What progress has been made this year with solar panel installation?” Deputy Mayor of Zuoquan County Wang Yang asked. A former staffer at the Beijing-based CIPG, Wang maintains a calm, pragmatic approach to this task. “We work around clock, seven days a week in a concerted effort to make things happen.”

Resident officials dispatched by CIPG discuss poverty reduction projects with local officials.[Photo by Zheng Liang]

The CIPG also invites local officials to Beijing for training courses. “I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to study at the CIPG’s training center,” said Liu Wei from Shixia Town. Liu is among the 20 or more cadres attending the specialized training course for young to middle-aged Zuoquan officials. “The lecturers explained to us the theories and practices relevant to our county and the countryside as a whole. The 20-day training course was a real eye opener and has given me greater confidence,” Liu said.

The success of poverty eradication hinges on human resources, especially young cadres who dare to assume responsibility and stay on the front line. Besides sending 10 groups of 27 young staffers to work in Zuoquan, the CIPG has also held 12 training sessions for as many as 580 Zuoquan County officials.

Wang Bing, secretary of CPC Zuoquan Committee, spoke of the substantial support the CIPG has given as regards human resources, materials, and funds. The young to middle-aged local officials who have received training at CIPG, he said, have become the mainstay of the poverty reduction program.

Education Halts Poverty

Education is foremost in eradicating poverty. The CIPG is an umbrella organization comprising publishing houses, magazines, websites, and research centers. In the past decade, the group has given its full support to developing Zuoquan County’s education and culture.

Books donated by CIPG to Lichang Village.[Photo by Zheng Liang]

The small reading room in Lichang Village is always full of children browsing and reading books donated by CIPG. “At first, the books here were mostly about agriculture and breeding, but we needed children’s books as well, and volumes that informed us about laws and regulations,” secretary of the village’s CPC committee Song Xianglin said. He added that the CIPG presented book titles to the village to the value of more than RMB 50,000. “During the summer vacation, about 10 kids come every day to read, and adults also come to borrow books.”

In 2016, the CIPG awarded a RMB 2,000 subsidy to each student who had enrolled in college but whose families could not afford the tuition fees. The group committed to maintaining these subsidies through to the students’ graduation. Lü Huiqing, a former CIPG staffer, came to Hanwang Town in mid-2015. He is deputy secretary of the town’s CPC committee. “Soon after I came to Zuoquan, a woman came to my office, distraught and in tears,” he recalled. “Her child had been enrolled in a college, but she had missed the deadline for the student loan application.” The problem of tuition fees was eventually solved through the efforts of the township and county governments. “This revealed to me the great value that farmers place on education,” Lü said.

Matian Town was the original headquarters of the Eighth Route Army. Its memorial hall and more than 100 sites here testify where battles took place against the Japanese invaders. “We decided to set up an art troupe in a local kindergarten,” said Wang Yang. “It’s our hope that those who perform in it will carry forward and promote the spirit of their forefathers who fought the war of resistance.”

Develop Industries for Long term Prosperity

The CIPG sets great store on developing industries in Zuoquan, as a way of addressing the vulnerability of its impoverished villagers. The group combines social resources in making joint efforts with the local government, cooperatives, and farmers. This approach was highly commended by the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development. Zhou Xiaoyun, head of the on-target poverty reduction department of the aforementioned organization remarked that CIPG has made the model a reality with real outcomes.

Solar panels installed on the roofs of impoverished families’ homes bring them stable incomes.[Photo by Zheng Liang]

The low labor demands and rapid effect of the photovoltaic industry make it the optimum route to casting off poverty. CIPG plans to facilitate the installation of solar panels on the roofs of 100 poverty-stricken households in Zuoquan, so benefiting around 500 residents. Besides utilizing relevant preferential policies, the CIPG also provides each household with an extra RMB 3,000 subsidy. In effect, each family can install solar panels at a cost of just RMB 5,000. According to calculations, the panels will earn each household an extra RMB 7,000 a year. So far the CIPG has helped more than 40 households to install the panels, and signed agreements with some 50 families.

Crop cultivation is another important industry through which to achieve an economic revival. “We’ll plant quinoa this year,” said Zhan Haichan, aged 66, from Lichang Village. “Since the CIPG helped us to build a processing farm, I no longer have to think about where to sell my quinoa.”

Wang Jia, a former CIPG staffer, has worked in Shixia Town for about two years. He recently applied for funds to build a vegetable greenhouse. “If the funds are given the go-ahead we can improve the infrastructure of the 6.67-hectare vegetable greenhouses,” Wang said.

To expand this agricultural and sideline products market, the CIPG has utilized its assets to promote these agricultural products. For example,, a portal site under CIPG, has organized a network on which to display Zuoquan specialties and so establish its presence in the market.

“We have, along with 13 other officials who have been dispatched to different counties, launched a series of promotional activities,” Deputy Mayor of Zuoquan Wang Yang said. “We each highlighted the specialties produced in our respective counties, so drawing attention to them.”

The on-target poverty alleviation model cannot be accomplished overnight, but rather calls for consistent, long term efforts. Zhang Jian, Lichang Village’s “first secretary” is constantly thinking of ways to ensure that poverty reduction will continue after he leaves. “Poverty alleviation goes beyond its literal meaning,” said Zhang Jian. “It’s like planting a tree which, whether or not officials come or go, will take root, prosper, and bear fruits, thus benefiting future generations.”

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