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Officials may pay for false reports

Luo Wangshu
Updated: May 11,2016 8:03 AM     China Daily

Officials who make false reports about anti-poverty achievements will be punished and prosecuted if the fraud is severe, a senior official said on May 10.

“Some villages where more than 10 percent of the people still live in poverty have applied to be removed from the list of poor villages,” said Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

“You can’t discount poor people in the anti-poverty battle just because it brings political accolades for local officials,” Liu said at a news conference of the State Council Information Office.

Third-party evaluations will be carried out on counties wanting to be removed from the poverty list, Liu said.

China has 592 counties on the national poverty list.

According to a new guideline issued late last month, poor families can be removed from the poverty record if they have stable income, compulsory education and basic health insurance, as well as a roof over their heads.

Their information will be publicized in the village after it is reviewed by the local government, and then they will be removed from the poverty record.

In the central region, a village or county can be removed from the poverty list if less than 2 percent of the population lives under the poverty line.

In the western region, the rate is 3 percent.

China aims to lift its remaining 55 million poor people out of poverty by 2020. In the past 30 years, China has lifted 70 million people out of poverty.

In the past, many local government officials reported false numbers to qualify for more financial aid from the central government and provincial governments, Liu said in an earlier report.

“Local governments should not include villagers as impoverished just to get more financial aid,” Liu said.

As China has made poverty alleviation one of its priorities for the next five years, officials who meet poverty-relief targets have more chances for promotion, while those who fail will be recalled and replaced, according to the government.