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23 Oct, 2015

Chinese President pledges stronger support to eradicate poverty by 2020

BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) — The Chinese government will enact more support policies to lift the country’s 70 million poor people above the poverty line by 2020, President Xi Jinping pledged on Friday ahead of the 23rd International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Addressing the Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum in Beijing, Xi said China will work to fight the hard battle against poverty.

In his speech, Xi drew on his personal experience in the 1960s working as a farmer in a small village in northwestern Shaanxi Province, where he was struck by the poor living conditions in rural China.

But over the past several decades, China has made remarkable progress in poverty relief.

China has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty in the past 30 years, accounting for about 70 percent of those brought out of poverty worldwide.

It was the first developing country to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of reducing the population living in poverty by half ahead of the 2015 deadline.

“Despite the achievements, China remains the world’s biggest developing country, and narrowing the urban-rural gap remains a big challenge for us,” Xi said.

As of the end of 2014, China still had 70.17 million people in the countryside living below the country’s poverty line of 2,300 yuan (376 U.S. dollars) in annual income by 2010 price standards.

The president said poverty alleviation will be a major part of China’s post-2015 agenda.

While striving to reduce poverty at home, China has also actively supported the cause in other developing countries.

Over the past 60 years, China has provided 166 countries and international organizations with nearly 400 billion yuan in assistance.

China has unconditionally forgiven mature inter-governmental interest-free loans held by heavily-indebted developing countries seven times.

The goal of eliminating poverty in 15 years was laid out at a United Nations summit last month, and China pledged an initial 2 billion U.S. dollars to establish an assistance fund to help developing nations fight poverty.

Given that poverty remains the biggest global challenge, Xi proposed countries and organizations accelerate poverty-relief efforts, intensify cooperation and work together to achieve diversified and sustainable development.

In a video message for Friday’s forum, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised China’s remarkable achievements in poverty alleviation, saying the UN welcomes the significant and generous proposals from President Xi and looks forward to further progress through partnership with China.

Attendees of the forum included Chadian President Idriss Deby, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, President of the National Assembly of Laos Pany Yathotou, Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, UN Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark and Director-General of the World Health Organization Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun.

They agreed that China has made great achievements in poverty alleviation, which has advanced fulfillment of the MDGs. The leaders said they look forward to further cooperation with China to promote the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Saturday also marks China’s second National Poverty Relief Day.