Ma Nuhai, a villager in the remote Linxia county of northwest
China's Gansu Province, has just moved with his wife and only
daughter from his humble dwelling to a well-set house thanks to a
project combining family planning with poverty alleviation.
His family is among lots of one-child families which benefit
from this project in rural western China.
"I have only one daughter, but I don't regret that. Our life has
been better compared with the past. I hope that my family will
shake off poverty soon," said Ma.
In Linxia, like the Ma's, many one-child families have moved
into free new houses which are offered by the poverty alleviation
project involving 20,000 yuan (US$2,466). Besides, every household
has received sheep of fine breed which are worth 2,000 yuan
Needy families in Luqu county of the province, received
sustenance funds from a project involving more than 4,000 yuan
(US$493). The beneficiaries bought motor-tricycles and ran small
businesses by their own, advancing steadfast on their way of
throwing off poverty.
"According to 2004 national and provincial expenditure plans,
the government must spend 5,000 yuan (US$616) to help one needy
person get rid of poverty. In contrast, carrying out the family
planning program in poverty-stricken areas only costs 370 yuan
(US$45) per capita," said Li Ying, vice governor of Gansu.
"As a result, controlling birthrates in these areas is an
effective way of fighting poverty and promoting economic and social
development," said the governor.
The natural conditions in west China are atrocious and resources
such as arable land and water are deficient. Its population is
large compared with its insufficient resource supply. Taking Gansu,
8.5 million people cannot have access to essential resources,
according to statistic calculations.
Rural people used to believe that having more children,
especially boys, can help them out of poverty, which makes things
In an attempt to restore the balance between population and
resources, the government combined family planning programs with
poverty alleviation efforts, achieving remarkable progress in
According to sources, the impoverished population in the
Yuanzhou District of Guyuan City, located in western China's
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, where a pilot project was carried
out since 2000, had dropped from 224,400 to 109,800 by 2004.
Gansu also expects fruitful results from the project, with an
estimated beneficiaries totaling 11,000 households.
(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2005)