by Xinhua writers Li Laifang, Lou Chen and Lyu Qiuping
BEIJING, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- China, the world's most populous country, on Thursday declared that it has eliminated absolute poverty.
The feat means China has solved absolute poverty, which has existed for thousands of years. The nation's people have now realized their long-cherished wish for ample food and clothing as well as comfortable housing.
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China has scored a "complete victory" in its fight against poverty and accomplished the arduous task of eliminating absolute poverty, hailing the achievement as another miracle of mankind that will "go down in history."
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the announcement while addressing a grand gathering held in Beijing to mark the country's poverty alleviation accomplishments and award model poverty fighters.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, China has organized and launched a tough anti-poverty drive that is the largest in scale and strongest in intensity, and benefits the biggest number of people in human history. Under the current standard, the country has lifted all 98.99 million of its rural poor out of poverty, or an average of over 10 million each year, which is equivalent to the population of a medium-sized country.
Wang Jincai is a farmer from the Miao ethnic group in Pangru Village of the Ziyun Miao-Bouyei Autonomous County, southwest China's Guizhou Province.
"We didn't have enough to eat and lived in an old wooden house with holes everywhere. You could see the stars when you sat inside," he recalled. His family bid farewell to poverty in 2020 and now lives in a new house equipped with running water.
Over the past eight years, Xi has presided over seven central poverty alleviation work symposiums, conducted more than 50 investigations into poverty alleviation work, and visited all of China's 14 contiguous impoverished areas. The country has sent over 3 million people to villages as special commissioners for poverty relief and invested fiscal funds totaling nearly 1.6 trillion yuan (248 billion U.S. dollars) into poverty alleviation. More than 1,800 people have lost their lives in the country's fight against poverty.
Yang Yalin, Party chief of Zhaotong City, Yunnan Province, said that the key to success in poverty alleviation is to firmly rely on the leadership of the CPC. "No matter how hard a nut is, we are resolved to crack it with the concerted efforts of cadres and the masses," he said.
When calculated in accordance with China's current poverty line, the country has lifted 770 million rural residents out of poverty since the beginning of reform and opening-up over 40 years ago, accounting for more than 70 percent of the global total based on the World Bank's international poverty line.
China has met the goal of ending poverty established in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule.
The elimination of absolute poverty in China is thanks to the CPC's strong leadership and determination, the people-centered philosophy of development, the institutional strength which can bring together the resources necessary to accomplish great tasks, as well as a series of creative and significant ideas and measures such as targeted poverty reduction, domestic and overseas observers have said.
Eliminating absolute poverty is a key contribution to accomplishing the CPC's first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, has set a solid foundation for its new journey of fully building a modern socialist country, and has created a "China example" for poverty reduction.
Senegalese scholar Ibrahima Niang said China's achievement in alleviating extreme poverty is exemplary, and its experience will contribute to the development of African countries.
Despite the accomplishment, the income levels of people who have recently shaken off poverty are relatively low.
As Xi said at the gathering, shaking off poverty is not the finish line, but the starting point of a new life and a new endeavor, and further efforts will be made to integrate the work of consolidating poverty alleviation achievements with rural vitalization. Enditem
(Xinhua reporters Li Jingya, Xu Lingui, Ma Xiaoran and Liu Xinyu contributed to the story.)