BEIJING, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- China lifted 12.89 million rural people out of poverty in 2017 as it progresses towards its target of eradicating poverty, official data showed Thursday.
There were still 30.46 million rural people living below the national poverty line at the end of 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The poverty rate declined to 3.1 percent at the end of last year from 4.5 percent a year earlier, the NBS said.
Per capita disposal income of rural residents in poor areas increased 9.1 percent last year after adjusting for inflation, up from 8.4 percent in 2016, and faster than the average growth rate of all rural areas.
China is aiming to eliminate poverty by 2020 in a bid to create a "moderately prosperous society."
Policy makers have listed poverty alleviation as one of the country's "three tough battles" for the next three years, along with risk prevention and pollution control.
Between the end of 2012 and the end of 2017, China lifted a total of 68.53 million rural people out of poverty, with the poverty rate falling from 10.2 percent to 3.1 percent, NBS data showed.
During that period, per capita disposal income of rural people in poor areas rose at an annual average rate of 10.4 percent after adjusting for inflation.
Despite the progress, the country's task is still arduous, as it will be more difficult to lift the remaining poor out of poverty.
China's poverty relief work will shift to areas hit the hardest by poverty, put more emphasis on quality, and be more targeted and precise, Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, said last month.
Authorities will work to foster local industries, create new jobs, relocate residents in poor areas, and strengthen aid to the aged, the disabled, and those seriously ill, he said.