China Focus: China shares wisdom on poverty relief through Internet

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-09 23:15:21|Editor: Liangyu
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HANGZHOU, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- As China is seeking to bridge its urban-rural digital divide, this year's World Internet Conference (WIC) shares China's experience on poverty alleviation through the Internet with guests overseas.

Held from Nov. 7 to 9 in Wuzhen, eastern China's Zhejiang Province, the fifth WIC attracted around 1,500 guests from 76 countries and regions, including government officials, representatives from international organizations, business leaders, experts and scholars.

Many participants were eager to gain first-hand anti-poverty wisdom from China, which has lifted 68.53 million people out of poverty in the past five years.

"China has achieved great results in bridging its digital divide," said Robert Kuhn, chairman of the Kuhn Foundation, during the conference. "It's a wonderful story the world needs to know and resemble."

"We have been pushing ahead to expand access to the Internet in China's rural areas," said Hong Tianyun, deputy director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development when addressing a WIC sub-forum themed "charity and poverty alleviation through the Internet: eliminating hunger and poverty."

As of June, 97.4 percent of China's villages have access to broadband Internet and 95 percent have access to 4G networks, according to the latest report on China's Internet development released at the conference.

China has also been "very effective" in empowering impoverished people and communities with easier access to the Internet, according to Sally Costerton, senior advisor to the president of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

ICANN is an international organization dedicated to promoting the use of Internationalized Domain Name (IDN), which enables non-English speakers to navigate the Internet in their native languages.

"Now we have around 1.3 million Chinese IDNs", said Costerton. "This offers enormous potential to help rural and poorer communities in China and many other countries around the world."

Besides, the Chinese government has partnered with e-commerce companies, such as Alibaba and, to pilot e-commerce projects in the country's poverty-stricken areas since 2014.

By connecting farmers directly with the market via e-commerce platforms, the targeted projects have contributed to the boom of local agricultural industries.

In 2017, 832 poor counties where such projects were launched reported a total online sales volume of 120.7 billion yuan (about 17.4 billion U.S. dollars), up 52 percent year on year, according to official data.

"E-commerce has been an integral part of South-South cooperation between the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Chinese government," said Qu Sixi, representative of WFP China Office.

He added that WFP is building a platform, in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, to share China's experience in developing its rural areas with other parts of the world.

To further enhance the role of Internet in poverty reduction, China rolled out a plan earlier this year to step up efforts in developing rural e-commerce, Internet-based healthcare and online education.

The country is aiming to lift at least 10 million people out of poverty by the end of this year and to eradicate poverty by 2020.