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Timeline: China's fight against poverty

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2021-02-25

BEIJING -- Eliminating poverty, improving people's livelihoods, and realizing common prosperity are the essential requirements of socialism.

Since the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress, the CPC Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, has placed poverty alleviation in a prominent position, put forward new thoughts and ideas, and made new decisions and arrangements to advance China's poverty relief campaign. 

Here is a look at China's efforts to fight poverty.

-- December 2012 

During his visit to impoverished villages in north China's Fuping County, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the most arduous and heavy task facing China in completing the building of a moderately prosperous society is in the rural areas, especially the poverty-stricken regions. 

-- March 2013 

While joining deputies in panel discussions at the annual session of the National People's Congress, Xi said poverty alleviation should not be like "killing fleas with a hand-grenade" or resort to indiscriminate measures. The poor population should be accurately identified, assisted and managed. 

-- November 2013 

During an inspection tour in central China's Hunan Province, Xi visited Shibadong, a Miao minority village labeled "poor" at the time, where he put forward the concept of "targeted poverty alleviation." The term refers to measures that include a system to keep track of every household and individual in poverty to verify that their treatment is having the desired effect. 

-- April 2014 

The State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development issued a work plan on the registration of the poor population, mobilizing millions of grassroots cadres across the country to carry out poverty identification. During the process, 128,000 villages, 29.32 million households, and 89.62 million people were identified as poor, according to national standards and procedures on poverty reduction. A database was established for every single impoverished person. 

-- October 2014 

China observed the first National Poverty Relief Day on Oct. 17. 

-- January 2015 

Xi said no single ethnic minority group should be left behind in the country's building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. 

-- February 2015 

During a meeting with Party chiefs of 24 counties and cities from Shaanxi and Gansu provinces and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Xi said a well-off society is incomplete if people in old revolutionary base areas cannot shake off poverty. 

-- October 2015 

Xi delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2015 Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum, saying that China has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty in the past 30 years, and China was the first developing country to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of reducing the population living in poverty by half ahead of the 2015 deadline. 

While striving to reduce poverty at home, China has also actively supported the cause in other developing countries. Over the past 60 years, China has provided 166 countries and international organizations with nearly 400 billion yuan in assistance. 

-- November 2015 

Xi led a conference on poverty alleviation and development. The conference, attended by senior leaders of the CPC Central Committee and the central government, and major provincial-level officials, was the first such high-level meeting ever held at the time. Officials made a "soldiers' pledge" to the central leadership. 

-- February 2016 

During a trip to Shenshan Village, a poverty-stricken village in the city of Jinggangshan, in Jiangxi Province, Xi met with villagers and the village party chief to learn about the progress that had been made in poverty relief through "precision" measures. 

"Not a single family living in poverty is to be left behind on our path to combating poverty," Xi told the Shenshan villagers. 

-- July 2016 

Xi urged developed regions in the east to help their partner regions in the west better fight poverty at a national conference on poverty alleviation through east-west cooperation in Yinchuan, capital city of China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. 

-- August 2016

During an inspection tour to Qinghai Province, Xi said relocation is an effective way to relieve poverty, and stressed the importance of listening to what the villagers want and letting them participate in planning their new villages. 

Xi said that the building of new villages should be integrated with measures to promote production and employment, improve basic public services and protect ethnic, regional and cultural features and styles. 

-- End of 2016 

The Shibadong Village, the birthplace of "targeted poverty alleviation," dropped its "poverty-stricken" label in 2016. 

-- February 2017 

Jinggangshan, the heartland of the early revolutionary activities of the CPC, announced that it had been officially taken off the list of impoverished areas. 

-- October 2017 

The 2017 Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum kicked off in Beijing. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres sent a letter of congratulation to the meeting commending China's poverty-reduction strategy. He said that China had lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and China's poverty-alleviation experience could provide useful lessons for other developing countries. 

-- February 2018 

The number of rural people living in poverty had dropped from 98.99 million at the end of 2012 to 30.46 million at the end of 2017, and 68.53 million people had been lifted out of poverty in the past five years, a reduction of about 70 percent. 

-- End of 2018 

The Dulong ethnic minority group in China's Yunnan Province announced that it had been officially taken off the list of impoverished areas in 2018. When answering a letter from the Dulong people, Xi said that "poverty eradication is only the first step, better days are yet to come." 

-- May 2019 

Yan'an, a former revolutionary base of the CPC, was officially taken off the list of impoverished areas. 

-- June 2019 

Huang Wenxiu, who led the poverty-alleviation efforts in a village in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, died in a rain-induced flash flood on June 17, 2019, at the age of 30. 

Over the past eight years, over 1,500 poverty-alleviation cadres in the country had died in the battle against poverty. 

-- March 2020 

A symposium on securing a decisive victory in poverty alleviation was held in Beijing, the largest of its kind since the 18th CPC National Congress. 

-- March 2020 

The country's poverty-alleviation tasks were near completion, as the number of impoverished people fell to 5.51 million at the end of 2019, and the poverty headcount ratio was down to 0.6 percent from 10.2 percent during the period. 

Of all the 832 nation-level poverty-stricken counties, only 52 remained to be removed from the poverty list. 

-- May 2020

The registered poor households of the village of Atulieer atop a cliff in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, in China's Sichuan Province, moved to a newly built community. 

Since 2016, more than 600 billion yuan had been invested in building new homes for 9.6 million people struggling in extreme poverty.

-- May 2020 

The Huanjiang Maonan Autonomous County in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was removed from the country's impoverished county list.

In an instruction on poverty elimination among the ethnic group, Xi called on the Maonan people to take poverty elimination as a new starting point for a better life, and continue with efforts to make their lives more prosperous. 

-- October 2020 

China's Tibet Autonomous Region accomplished the historical feat of eradicating absolute poverty. By the end of 2019, Tibet had lifted 628,000 people out of poverty and removed 74 county-level areas from the poverty list.

-- October 2020 

Xi urged continuous efforts to win a complete victory in the battle against poverty as China marked the seventh National Poverty Relief Day, saying that 2020 was the decisive year for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and eradicating poverty nationwide. 

-- November 2020 

China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, with over 25 million people of various ethnic groups, bid farewell to absolute poverty, with the last 10 impoverished counties managing to end absolute poverty. 

-- November 2020 

Xihaigu, once one of the world's most uninhabitable places due to harsh environment, achieved a historic feat in eliminating absolute poverty, with the last poor county in the region removed from the country's list of poverty-stricken counties. 

-- November 2020 

China announced that it had removed the remaining 52 impoverished counties from the poverty list, marking the removal of all 832 on the list, a globally significant milestone in poverty reduction for the world's most populous country. 

-- December 2020 

In a letter of congratulations to the International Forum on Sharing Poverty Reduction Experience held in Beijing, Xi said that the cause of poverty reduction is facing severe challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic rages across the world, and China is willing to work with all countries to promote international poverty reduction and build a community with a shared future for humanity. 

-- December 2020 

While delivering a televised New Year speech to ring in 2021, Xi said China had secured a great historic achievement for fully building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and a decisive victory in poverty eradication. 

In 2020, after eight years of efforts, all of China's nearly 100 million impoverished rural residents living below the current poverty line had shaken off poverty.