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China to Continue Global Poverty Relief Efforts

China has made remarkable progress in poverty alleviation and will continue to actively involve in the global undertaking of eliminating poverty, a Chinese official has said.

"The rural population in absolute poverty has been reduced from 250 million in 1978 to 21.5 million last year. The national poverty rate is now 2.3 percent, down from 30.7 percent 30 years ago," said Fan Xiaojian, deputy chief of the State Council Leading Group for Poverty Alleviation.

Low-income population also dropped dramatically to 35.5 million in 2006 from 62.1 million in 2000. People with low-income now make up only 3.7 percent of the rural population, Fan said at the on-going China-ASEAN Expo held in southern China city of Ninning.

"China has taken a government-led poverty reduction approach and give all social resource full play to help lift people out of poverty," he said.

While focusing on the livelihood of Chinese people, China also takes an active part in global poverty alleviation efforts in recent years, including founding a China International Poverty Alleviation Center in collaboration with the United Nations Develop Program (UNDP), holding the first China-Africa Cooperation Forum, and inviting representatives from less developed countries to seminars on the issue.

Fan said China will continue to give assistance to developing countries in the field of poverty reduction so as to achieve development side by side.

"Transnational cooperation will facilitate regional poverty elimination," said Renaud Meyer, UNDP's deputy representative to China while praising what China has achieved during the past years.

However, Fan acknowledged China still facing many challenges.

"The Chinese standard of poverty is relatively lower than international benchmark. In fact, China has 100 million people living on less than US$1 a day, a poverty line drawn by the World Bank," said Fan.

He also said the regional difference is still colossal in China, and impoverished regions lag behind in many social, economic aspects.

"China has many problems that can't be ignored, such as inadequate education opportunities for poor people, the HIV/AIDS, and environment deterioration," Renaud Meyer noted.

Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged in his report on behalf of the 16th CPC Central Committee earlier this month that a reasonable and orderly pattern of income distribution will be basically in place, with middle-income people making up the majority and absolute poverty basically eliminated.

(Xinhua News Agency October 31, 2007)

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