Xi: Victory over poverty will go down in history
Unrelenting effort now urged to resolve unbalanced, inadequate development
President Xi Jinping announced on Thursday China's "complete victory" in its fight against absolute poverty, while underlining the need for unrelenting efforts to solve the problems of unbalanced and inadequate development and narrow the gap between urban and rural areas.
In an hourlong speech delivered at a grand gathering in Beijing, Xi said China created another miracle that will "go down in history" in eradicating extreme poverty, after its 98.99 million impoverished rural residents were lifted from poverty and 832 counties and 128,000 villages were removed from the poverty-stricken list in the past eight years.
"This is a great glory for the Chinese people, the Communist Party of China and the Chinese nation," said Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
In front of an audience of thousands, Xi and other senior officials presented awards to outstanding units and individuals who have made key contributions at the gathering, which was held to summarize China's poverty alleviation outcomes.
Xi said shaking off absolute poverty is not the end but the starting point of a new life and new endeavor.
"We don't have any reason for exaggerated pride, self-satisfaction or complacency. We must build on this momentum and continue with persistent efforts," he said.
He recalled the Chinese nation's long fight against poverty, saying that the founding of the People's Republic of China created the fundamental political conditions for the victory against extreme material deprivation.
Over the past eight years, the CPC Central Committee has prioritized poverty alleviation in its State governance and seen the effort as the bottom line in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, he said.
During that time, Xi chaired seven symposiums on poverty reduction and made over 50 inspection trips to poor areas, visiting all of the country's 14 extremely impoverished regional clusters.
The needs of food, clothing, compulsory education, basic healthcare and housing security have been met, with tailored medical treatments offered to over 20 million impoverished patients, social aid programs having covered over 24 million people and subsidies provided for people living in difficult circumstances and with disabilities.
"The sunshine of poverty alleviation has shined to every corner. The destinies of numerous people have hence changed, the dreams of millions were hence realized and the happiness of countless individuals was hence accomplished," Xi said.
Poor areas also saw their social and economic growth catching up, with the rundown homes of 7.9 million households, or 25.68 million poor people, renovated and over 9.6 million people relocated to homes with better natural conditions, Xi said.
China has also created an example of poverty reduction and made great contributions to global poverty alleviation, he said.
The country, having met the poverty eradication target set in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule, is also conducting international cooperation on poverty alleviation and assuming its due international responsibility to help developing nations, he said.
The remarkable achievements are underpinned by the strong leadership of the Party, the self-reliant and hardworking character of the Chinese nation, a strong material foundation accumulated over decades, perseverance over generations and the unity and fight of the whole Party and nation, he said.
Xi expounded on an anti-poverty theory with Chinese characteristics, including adherence to Party leadership, a people-centered development philosophy and a targeted poverty alleviation strategy.
"Facts have fully proved that the CPC has an unparalleled strong capacity in leadership, organization and execution, and the Party is the most reliable force of leadership in leading the people to conquer difficulties and blaze paths forward," he said.
China devoted a total fiscal investment of about 1.6 trillion yuan ($247.97 billion), including 660.1 billion yuan from the central budget, over the past eight years, which Xi said fully indicated a strong emphasis on the fundamental interests of the people.
The president also highlighted the importance of the targeted poverty alleviation strategy and leveraging development as a way to eliminate the causes of poverty.
With the establishment of a national poverty registration system, the nation was able to put forward a mix of policies that included tailored measures for different villages, households and individuals, he explained.
Even though the victory marked a solid step as the Party led the people toward better lives and common prosperity, Xi warned of formidable tasks ahead.
He reiterated the significance of aligning poverty alleviation outcomes with the rural vitalization strategy to make the foundation of the anti-poverty fight more stable and its outcomes more sustainable.
The Party will continue to see issues relating to agriculture, rural areas and farmers as a top priority, keep narrowing the divide between urban and rural areas and enable low-income groups and less developed areas to share the outcomes of growth, he said.