Interview: British professor confident about China's attainment of poverty eradication goal

Source: Xinhua| 2020-05-24 11:29:19|Editor: huaxia

by Xinhua writer Yu Jiaxin

LONDON, May 24 (Xinhua) -- A British expert has expressed confidence that China will achieve the goal of poverty eradication on time.

Kerry Brown, a professor of Chinese studies and director of the Lau China Institute at King's College, London, told Xinhua via email recently that it will be a tough period for China and everywhere, but the post-COVID-19 period is also full of opportunities.

Despite the economic impact exerted by COVID-19, at this year's annual two sessions, China again stressed confidence in achieving its goal of eradicating poverty this year.

Although every country, including China, suffered a huge economic impact from COVID-19, Brown stressed that there is still a chance to face it by trying to innovate and do things in a different way in terms of balance, sustainability and environmentally friendliness.

"There are opportunities in terms of collaboration as well as achieving a new set of reforms because of the urgency of the crisis that faces us," said Brown.

New industries and sectors may emerge to replace some of the lost employment in other more traditional areas, he added.

Talking about China's poverty alleviation story, he still remembered the time when he travelled around the rural areas of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the mid 1990s. "In places like Sizi Wangqi, I remember power cuts were common, and people were living a sort of farming life that hadn't changed probably for centuries," he recalled.

However, these days, that area has highways and new buildings, so different that it almost seems another place. "Even (the autonomous region's capital city) Hohhot is almost unrecognizable from the place I knew so well a quarter of a century ago," he added.

He attributed the success of China's poverty alleviation largely to the agricultural reforms in the late 1970s and early 1980s when the productivity in the agricultural sector was improved radically, freeing up people to work in Town and Village Enterprises.

This hybrid form, he said, is a combination of innovation and control proven successful till today. The question is what sorts of innovations in the future will maintain this momentum.

"Now the achievement of China's poverty alleviation is vast, and it's something that the outside world needs to give China credit for," said Brown.

It has been the key contributor to the global improvement in literacy levels, fall in malnutrition and poverty levels, improvement in access to clean water, and in generally improving basic human wellbeing, he added.

Brown said this is one of the main reasons why, despite so much pessimism in the world currently, people are living longer, more healthily, and with more prosperity. "China's lifting so many people from poverty accounts for much of this," he said.

In Brown's eyes, any plan that does not include a fifth of humanity is not going to be serious, but the poverty eradication is one of them.

"The era in which China and the outside world need to create a sustainable and stable template to accept each others differences but work equitably, with reciprocity and fairness with each other is now on us," he said. Enditem