China wants to get rid of poverty by 2020
According to the Ministry of Finance of China, Beijing plans to spend 86 billion yuan ($13.6 billion) on poverty alleviation, which will see new infrastructure projects and increased support to education. Poverty is not something that the leaders would ignore.
As Global Times writes in an article "In continued fight against poverty, China looks at quality of growth", according to the government work report of 2018 delivered by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, more than 68 million Chinese have been lifted out of poverty. Poverty, the cradle of discontentment and unrest, is detrimental to the interests of a country. Stability and prosperity cannot be achieved if such a social issue is not tackled.
As the number of people living in extreme poverty worldwide went down by 1 billion to 840 million, China accounted for almost half the number that was delivered from the scourge. Yet, I believe it should be up to every country to figure out its own suitable plan to eradicate and reduce poverty. There isn't a one-size-fits-all formula. Some common ingredients for success in poverty eradication would be first acknowledging the issue then tackling it through the implementation of positive and sustained policies at the right time.
With reform and opening-up, China saw economic progress bringing great changes to many of its regions. Economy was no longer a planned one but market-driven, which fueled growth. Infrastructure was also set in place, which helped promote the movement of resources and labor. Education also followed and the smartest move of all - China was not caught up in any war. With wealth distributed among people and greater care exercised to bring education to the poor, China began to gradually pull her people out of extreme poverty. Sure, the income gap still exists today and poverty is visible, the positive thing is that bringing people out of economic deprivation has become the central focus in recent years.
Emphasis has been placed on the quality and sustainability of growth in China. The shift from double-digit to single-digit GDP growth is in fact much beneficial since the country needs quality in growth and sustainability. Poverty-stricken provinces and regions in the far west need to catch up with the more prosperous east. Apart from pairing less well-off regions with those developing well, the government remains serious in tackling this age-old issue.
For a country like China - with its sheer size, population, urban to rural ratio and ethnic composition, poverty is not unusual. Many challenges such as access to education and healthcare especially in rural areas as well as urbanization are part of the phenomenon when you have growth. It is comforting to know that the government has acknowledged the issue and made it a signature campaign to lift more people out of poverty by 2020. Though it won't be easy, the fight will continue.