China’s history is a history of the nation’s struggle against poverty. No wonder the Chinese p eople have always dreamed of a society free of poverty. As such, the eradication of abject poverty in China last year is an important step toward realizing the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.
The Communist Party of China has always used a people-centered approach to solve problems. The Party used it to lead the revolution, rebuild the country after the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, and launch reform and opening-up in 1978 to propel the country’s economic development. The Party still adheres to the same philosophy to accomplish its missions.
During the New Democratic Revolution, the Party united and led the farmers to launch a campaign to seize excessive land from landlords and distribute it among farmers to ensure more equitable distribution of national wealth. This won the Party the support of the vast majority of the people and, later, created the political conditions for launching the poverty eradication program.
After the founding of the People’s Republic, the Party led the people in completing the socialist revolution, establishing the basic socialist system, advancing socialist construction, and encouraging them to work harder to change the old systems, laying a solid foundation for eradicating poverty and improving people’s livelihoods.
From 1978, when reform and opening-up were launched, the Party has carried out large-scale, poverty eradication programs, among other things, by boosting development in order to unleash and develop productive forces, improve people’s livelihoods, and promote poverty alleviation work.
In particular, since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, the Party has been emphasizing that the most arduous task in building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects is developing rural areas, especially poverty-stricken areas, because a moderately prosperous society exclusive of rural areas cannot be a moderately prosperous society in the true sense of the term. If poverty is not eradicated in rural areas, especially impoverished areas, China cannot achieve overall development and demonstrate the superiority of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Toward the end of 2012, the Party made a solemn commitment that no impoverished area or poor person should be left behind in the poverty alleviation campaign, marking the beginning of the Party-led fight against poverty in the new era. Since then the Party has accorded high priority to poverty alleviation so as to improve governance and build a moderately prosperous society in all aspects.
The economic prosperity and social progress of a country are often reflected in people’s livelihoods and living standards, and basic public services. As such, the Party’s all-out effort to eradicate poverty is enough to prove the superiority of China’s people-centered system compared with other systems.
Over the years, the Party and government have given top priority to people’s right to subsistence and development, while taking effective measures to eradicate poverty, improve people’s well-being, strengthen social causes, ensure that the country’s development benefits everyone, and safeguard people’s right to equal participation in national development.
From the exemplary achievements in poverty eradication to safeguarding people’s fundamental rights, especially their right to development, from implementing the national poverty reduction plan at the macro level to protecting and advancing human rights, and from taking targeted measures to eradicate poverty to contributing to the international poverty alleviation cause, China has accomplished many goals and thus helped the Chinese people fulfill their aspirations.
Poverty alleviation is also a challenge for global governance. Despite years of global efforts to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, poverty remains a serious problem across the world, with the rich-poor gap widening in some countries. To make matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic has had the worst impact on the poor across the world, pushing many of them into extreme poverty.
The World Bank’s September 2020 report said the pandemic will push 70-100 million more people into extreme poverty across the globe, raising the number of people living in abject poverty to 490 million. And by eradicating absolute poverty, China has not only set a good example for governance but also made a big contribution to global poverty reduction, and building a community with a shared future for mankind.
China has lifted more people out of poverty than any other country, and while doing so, it has established the world’s largest education, social security and healthcare systems, which can be regarded as the largest human rights project and best example of human rights protection in the world.
Other developing countries can use China’s targeted poverty alleviation work as reference, although China’s targeted poverty eradication measures are based on its own realities, and each country needs to address the problem based on its real condition. Targeted poverty alleviation means identifying the root causes of poverty and providing customized solutions to the problems, such as “who to support”, “who to help” and “how to help”, which can strengthen poverty alleviation work and minimize the possibility of people newly lifted out of poverty slipping back into poverty.
This makes China’s poverty alleviation success extremely important for overall global economic development.
The author is a professor of politics and law at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee. The views don’t necessarily reflect those of China Daily.