On November 13, 2019, Chinese Ambassador to Sudan Ma Xinmin publishes a signed article titled “Inspiration from China’s Success in Poverty Alleviation” for the China Focus Column on Sudan Vision. The full text is as follows:
Inspiration from China’s Success in Poverty Alleviation
Over the past seven decades since its founding, the People’s Republic of China has scored a great historic achievement of lifting over 750 million rural population out of poverty, contributing more than 70 percent to the global poverty reduction endeavor in the same period and becoming the first developing country to realize poverty reduction as a UN Millennium Development Goals. China will wipe out absolute poverty and achieve moderate prosperity in all aspects by the year 2020. Absolute poverty, which has haunted the Chinese nation for thousands of years, will soon become a thing of the past. This will be a great miracle in human history. What has made it possible for China to achieve the marked reduction of poverty and in what way China’s success story in poverty alleviation is relevant to other countries?
Eradicating spiritual poverty is crucial. As the Chinese believe, “sow a thought, reap an action”, the efforts to overcome material poverty should be focused on eradication of spiritual poverty. Chinese President Xi Jinping once pointed out, “for the purpose of poverty alleviation, the first important thing is to get rid of ‘poverty’ in perceptions and thoughts”. Eradication of spiritual poverty requires changing the mindset, stimulating endogenous impetus and enhancing the level of education. The eradication of poverty and achievement of prosperity hinge on abandoning the attitude of “passively longing for national assistance, expecting government grants and claiming for poverty reduction funds”, and rely on firm efforts to educate the impoverished.
Convinced that poverty alleviation requires a change of attitude and the support of education, the Chinese government has guided officials serving in the impoverished areas toward a high aspiration, the awareness of subject and the vigor for proactive measures, self-reliance and hard work, and also offered cultural, educational and technical support to help identify the root cause of poverty and brainstorm proper solutions together and enhance their capability to shake off poverty and become better-off. Mental strength stimulates endogenous impetus, while hard work brings prosperity and affluence.
The establishment of sound systems and mechanisms for poverty alleviation provides the institutional support. Thorough systems and effective mechanisms are the major prerequisite for China’s success in poverty alleviation. By incorporating the government-led and development-oriented poverty alleviation into the country’s overall development strategy, China has set clear goals for poverty reduction and definite standards for poverty relief for different phases, formulated special plans for poverty alleviation, pooled resources to carry out special poverty alleviation programs on a large scale, and executed targeted development plans among certain groups including women and children, the disabled, and ethnic minorities, providing guidance at the macro-policy level and the institutional guarantee for poverty relief.
Through a robust working mechanism with “central government responsible for overall planning, provincial-level governments assuming overall responsibility, and city and county governments responsible for program implementation”, China has reinforced the responsibility system of Party committees and governments for overall responsibility and ensured directives are put into effect at all levels, which lays an organizational basis for work on poverty alleviation.
Upholding the grand pattern of poverty alleviation featuring coordinated efforts of government, market and society, China has maximized the role of social forces by mobilizing the whole society to contribute to poverty alleviation, and effectively integrated market resources, forming a trans-regional, trans-departmental, and trans-industrial poverty reduction process to which all social sectors contribute, and advancing all-round poverty alleviation through various means.
Finding the right paths to poverty alleviation is the fundamental solution. China has found a development-centered path to poverty alleviation from offering assistance, boosting development to formulating targeted policies. Providing assistance may satisfy the urgent needs but is never the ultimate solution. Instead, development is the fundamental approach to poverty eradication. Adhering to the guideline of development-focused poverty relief, the Chinese government mobilizes, inspires and instructs people in the impoverished areas to improve their capability for self-development through the utilization of premium resources available in the impoverished areas to develop industries with local features, and try to improve their working and living conditions, prevent the transfer of poverty across generations, and help them achieve sustainable development.
Creatively taking targeted poverty reduction and elimination as the basic strategy and placing the focus on four major issues of “to whom help and support will be offered”, “who will offer the help and support”, “how to offer the help and support” and “how to measure poverty reduction completion”, China has delivered targeted aid and support to every impoverished household in every village, through registering all impoverished households, stationing officials in villages to work on poverty alleviation, implementing targeted measures in light of local conditions and conducting accountability inspections to ensure the real effects of poverty reduction endeavor.
China carries out preferential policies to its general welfare policy and showing particular concern for the impoverished, the Chinese government has provided aid and guarantees for all those who qualify for help, yielding solid results from poverty reduction endeavor.
China’s practice has proved that the key to poverty alleviation is to eradicate spiritual poverty in the first place, and to practice the poverty alleviation systems and mechanisms suited to national conditions and to adhere to the development-centered path. This is a great inspiration from the poverty reduction practice with Chinese characteristics and also useful Chinese experience for global poverty reduction endeavor.