Take Targeted Measures Against Poverty*
November 27, 2015
Eliminating poverty, improving living standards, and achieving common prosperity are the basic requirements of socialism and an important mission of the CPC. Building a moderately prosperous society in all respects is our fundamental promise to the people. We have sounded a clarion call in the battle against poverty. To win this battle, we should have firm resolve and solid goals, and work hard with a down-to-earth spirit, to bring reasonable prosperity to all poverty-stricken areas and individuals by 2020.
This conference on poverty alleviation and development is the first central conference since the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee. This shows the Central Committee's deep concern for poverty relief. At that plenary session, starting from our fundamental promise, we committed to raising out of poverty all those defined by current standards as rural poor, raising out of poverty all those counties designated as poverty-stricken, and eliminating overall regional poverty by 2020. The major tasks of this conference are to implement the decision of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, analyze the current situation, map out our work in the final period of achieving the goal of moderate prosperity, make both present and future plans to carry out the work required, and mobilize all forces of the Party and the nation to win this battle against poverty.
Since the founding of the PRC in 1949, the CPC has led the people in fighting poverty. Through 37 years of effort since we adopted reform and opening up in 1978, we have followed a poverty relief path with Chinese characteristics, and lifted more than 700 million rural people out of poverty, laying the foundation for moderate prosperity throughout the country. China has lifted more people out of poverty than any other country, and it was the first to realize the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. This achievement deserves to be recorded in the annals of human social development, and it proves the worth of the CPC's leadership and Chinese socialism.
We should be aware that China's battle against poverty remains tough. By the end of 2014, China still had a rural population of over 70 million living in poverty. Our poverty relief goals for the 13th Five-year Plan period (2016-2020) are as follows: By 2020, the rural poor will be guaranteed food, clothing, compulsory education, basic medical care, and safe housing; in poverty-stricken areas, the growth rate in rural per capita disposable income will surpass the national average growth rate, and major indicators of basic public services will approach the national average.
China's battle against poverty has entered the toughest stage. To achieve our goals, we must carry on the fight with firmer resolve, clearer thinking, more targeted measures, unique intensity, and concerted action, leaving behind no single poverty-stricken area or individual.
To take better-targeted measures to help the poor and lift them out of poverty, we should improve their impact. The key is to find the right approaches, establish effective mechanisms, make real efforts in targeted policy-making, and deliver real results in policy implementation.
We should determine who must receive poverty relief, and identify the population and the poverty level of the truly impoverished and the root causes of their problems, so as to implement targeted polices for different households and individuals.
We should determine who is to implement poverty relief, develop a working mechanism in which the central government makes overall plans, the governments of provinces and equivalent administrative units take charge, and governments at municipal, prefectural, and county levels implement the decisions. Governments at all levels should define a clear division of labor, clarify their own responsibilities, assign specific tasks to designated officials, and produce a thorough evaluation of their performance.
We should determine how to implement poverty relief. According to the different cases of poverty-stricken people and areas, we should adopt five measures:
First, boosting the economy to provide more job opportunities. We should guide and encourage all people with ability to work for a better future with their own hands, and rely on local resources to end poverty.
Second, relocating poverty-stricken people. Those who cannot escape from poverty locally can be relocated year by year in a planned and organized way. We should ensure smooth relocation and settlement, and make sure those involved have the means to better themselves.
Third, providing eco-jobs for poverty-stricken people. We should strengthen ecological restoration and protection in impoverished areas, increase transfer payments in important ecological areas, expand the scope of those eligible for preferential policies, and enable impoverished people with the ability to work to serve as eco-workers, for example as forest rangers.
Fourth, improving education in poverty-stricken areas. The best way to help the poor is to raise their educational level. National education funds should continue to be weighted towards poverty-stricken areas, for basic education and vocational education. We should improve the education services in impoverished areas, and direct particular attention to young children from impoverished rural households, especially children who stay in rural areas while their parents have gone to the cities as migrant workers.
Fifth, improving social security for poverty alleviation. Among the poverty-stricken population, those who have completely or partially lost the ability to work should be guaranteed social security. We should readjust the rural poverty line and rural subsistence allowances, and provide other forms of social relief. We should increase medical insurance and medical aid for poverty relief, and ensure the rural poor are covered by the new type of rural cooperative medical care and serious illness insurance. We should increase efforts in poverty relief in the old revolutionary base areas of the CPC from before the founding of the PRC.
Taking targeted measures to help the impoverished means lifting them out of poverty. We should set a timetable, a step-by-step schedule to complete this poverty relief program, being neither overconservative nor over-impetuous. We should give a "grace period", in which we continue to implement poverty relief policies in designated poor areas that have eliminated poverty. We should evaluate the results of our work against strict criteria and in terms of every household and individual, until they are recognized by the public.
While taking targeted measures for poverty relief, we should enhance and improve the CPC's leadership. Party committees and governments at all levels must proceed with confidence, take on responsibilities, and do solid work to reduce poverty. Officials at all levels should press on with the work of poverty alleviation with passion and determination. In places where poverty alleviation work is tough, Party committees and governments should take the fight against poverty as their top priority for the 13th Five-year Plan period (2016-2020), and use it to promote local social and economic development. Authorities at all levels should sign written pledges concerning their goals. We should establish an annual report and supervision system for poverty alleviation to enhance accountability. Their actual performance in poverty alleviation should be a major criterion for selecting officials. We should test officials on the front line of the battle against poverty, and encourage them to distinguish themselves. We should strengthen rural grassroots Party committees, intensify the fight against poverty, and select capable first-in-commands and leading groups.
Our input in development-oriented poverty alleviation should be adapted to the requirements for victory in this battle. Accordingly, we should increase special funds and infrastructure investment in the state budget allocated to poverty relief. Transfer payments for general purposes and special transfer payments for improving standards of living should be further shifted towards poverty-stricken areas. Provincial budgets and eastern areas which are paired up with western impoverished areas for the purpose of fighting poverty should increase financial support for poverty relief. We should multiply efforts to integrate funds for poverty relief. To reduce poverty through financial measures, we should accelerate the pace of rural financial reform and innovation. We should promote transparent management of poverty relief funds, investigate every crime of abusing power in poverty relief, and severely punish those who embezzle, exploit, falsely claim, or squander poverty relief funds.
To eliminate poverty, the impoverished should rely on their own hard work. There is no mountain top we cannot reach; there is no voyage without a final destination. We should arouse the initiative of grassroots officials and people in poverty-stricken areas, and encourage them to act with passion and fight poverty through hard work. We should also mobilize all social forces to join in poverty alleviation.
* Main points of the speech at the Central Conference on Poverty Alleviation and Development.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)