NANNING, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Forty years after China started its reform and opening-up, more than 18 million rural residents have been lifted out of poverty in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The autonomous region, which will mark its 60th anniversary this December, reported a 2.67 million rural population living in poverty at the end of 2017, down from 21 million in 1978, according to the latest government data.
"The rural poverty rate fell from 70 percent to 5.7 percent in this period," said Huang Weijing, secretary-general of Guangxi Regional Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Improving infrastructure has been highlighted in Guangxi's anti-poverty campaign. Huang said the region now operates 1,771 km of high-speed railway and 91 percent of the counties have access to expressways.
The autonomous region, heavily inhabited by China's most populous ethnic minority Zhuang and many other minority groups, was established in 1958. It has been a major front in China's ongoing battle against poverty.
Poverty reduction has been high on the agenda of the Chinese government, which aims to eradicate absolute poverty by 2020. The country's poverty line stands at 2,300 yuan (335 U.S. dollars) in annual income.
The official said the region's GDP reached 2 trillion yuan in 2017, almost tenfold that of 1958 upon its founding, boosted by prospering industries including food processing, machinery and electronic information.