Sichuan leading poverty alleviation campaign in China
Chengdu, October 4: South Western province of China, Sichuan successfully implementing poverty alleviation policies as the number of poor people has reduced to 2.27 million currently which was recorded 6.25 million in 2013.
Zhang Haipeng, deputy director of Sichuan Provincial Poverty Alleviation and Immigration Bureau, told visiting Asian journalists that China’s poverty alleviation program is a huge success in the province, thanks to the determination of the local officials to finish the job by 2020.
In 2013, Sichuan has 6.25 million people living in poverty but the number has been reduced to 2.27 million after three years of hard work under the guidance of central government of China.
The provincial government and the people are committed to eliminate the poverty before the targeted time, and it does not seem difficult, he added.
Zhang said Sichuan province received the highest grade in the implementation of the central government’s poverty alleviation work in 2016.
”Sichuan has a good reputation in poverty alleviation because we conduct strict inspections in 160 counties under the province to make sure the program is properly implemented,” he said.
Zhang said identifying the poor people and the root cause of their poverty is a tough task to make since Sichuan has 90 million people, the fourth highest in China.
”It takes hard work really because Sichuan is not only populous but with the most number of poor people. We have to know their annual income and their quality of education, health care, and homes,” Zhang said.
He said both the central and local governments have been giving great attention to poverty alleviation program since the late 1970s.
China has now only 43 million poor people, a huge drop from over 800 million people living in poverty in 1978.
In Sichuan, poverty reduction works get ample support from the province’s thriving industries like information technology, electricity generation, oil gas, manufacturing, automobile, agriculture and food and beverage.
Kan Zelan, division chief of provincial development and reform commission, said the province’s IT trade volume has reached USD 100 billion and has been providing many job opportunities.
She said the lives of the people have also dramatically improved due to the huge money that the government has invested in infrastructure projects, particularly in Sichuan.
Sichuan has a comprehensive transportation system that includes railways and highways which is ranked first in western China while Chengdu is the fourth aviation city in China.
Sichuan, known as ‘Land of Abundance’ with 486,000 square kilometer land area, has established business ties with over 221 countries and regions while 316 of the Fortune Global 500 companies have settled down in the province.
Last year, Sichuan’s total volume of import and export has reached USD 49.33 billion.
”Sichuan has abundant resources, very mature industrial system and very good business environment,” Peng Chengliang, division chief of international economic and commercial relations of Sichuan provincial commerce department, said.
Zhang, meanwhile, said the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as Yangtze Economic Belt, also plays important role in the province’s poverty reduction work.
”It will definitely help our poverty alleviation program because of the benefits that Belt and Road will bring through infrastructure projects,” Zhang said.
Located in the upper reach of Yangtze River and Yellow River, Sichuan is also the international gateway of China to the west, particularly in Southeast Asia region.
Under its slogan “Sichuan, more than pandas,”, the province has registered 630 million tourist arrivals, including 3.08 million foreign visitors, in 2016.
Sichuan is home to more than 4,000 tourist spots including Chengdu Panda Research Base and natural reserves and sanctuaries for Sichuan’s 1,864 giant pandas, 80 percent of the world’s population.
Sichuan has also been getting recognition as the best place to dine due to 6,000 different kind of delicious and spicy foods.
Last year, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Sichuan has reached over RMB3.2 trillion (USD 463.7 billion), ranking sixth in China which is the world’s second largest economy