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Vice Premier: Poverty Fight Task Remains Arduous

Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said on Tuesday the country's poverty fight has become a more arduous task as the country decided to enable more people to benefit from the initiative.

"China still has a big population mired in poverty, and factors hindering the development of poverty-stricken regions remained unresolved in many cases, despite the progress over the past years," Hui said at a meeting of the Group Office for Poverty Alleviation and Development under the State Council.

Statistics showed the country's rural population mired in absolute poverty was reduced to 15 million last year, down from 250 million in 1978.

He said the government needed to step up efforts to alleviate poverty in the countryside, and carry out more favorable policies to benefit the poor.

He urged the office to meet the goals set in a 2001 outline which said the country would strive to provide people in need with adequate food and clothing in 10 years, among other goals. He also prompted the office to plan for the poverty fight work after 2010.

He asked relevant departments to identify people covered under the country's expanded poverty fight drive as soon as possible, as the country said in October it would expand the coverage from people in absolute poverty to the low-income rural population.

The country's population in absolute poverty, with an annual per capita income of no more than 785 yuan (US$114.6), was reduced to 14.79 million last year, while the low-income population, with an annual per capita income between 786 yuan and 1,067 yuan, was 28.41 million.

(Xinhua News Agency November 26, 2008)

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