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Poverty’s decline guided by leaders

Yang Han
Updated: Mar 20,2018 9:56 AM     China Daily

China’s experience in tackling poverty, a priority laid out by top leaders, should be shared by the world, said an expert with a think tank based in Thailand.

The country has done “marvelously well” in tackling poverty over the past years, said Kriengsak Chareonwongsak, president of Thailand’s Institute of Future Studies for Development.

Its battle against poverty has not only reduced the number of poor people in the nation, but also helped bring down the level of poverty globally, he said.

“China’s experience can be valuable and we should learn from China humbly,” said Kriengsak, who also is a prime ministerial adviser and chairman of Thailand’s Nation-Building Institute International.

Premier Li Keqiang said in his Government Work Report, delivered at the opening of the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress on March 5, that targeted poverty alleviation is one of the country’s three tough tasks this year and that the government is ready to lift another 10 million people above the poverty line this year.

He noted that 68 million people had escaped poverty since 2012, when the Communist Party of China held its 18th National Congress. President Xi Jinping has also encouraged the country to be resolute in eradicating absolute poverty by 2020.

Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, said 30.46 million people remained below the poverty line by the end of 2017. The poverty line in China is a net annual income of 2,300 yuan ($363) as measured in 2010.

Since the start of reform and opening-up, China has lifted 700 million people out of poverty, representing more than 70 percent of the global reduction, according to a report published in 2016 by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the State Council, China’s Cabinet. Another 10 million people escaped poverty last year.

Kriengsak said: “We should think of how the Chinese economy has done this with an open mind… We should learn and apply and bring it over to many other countries.”

He said he appreciates how China has tackled poverty with a strong focus on innovative technology and research and development, and expects to see a more targeted approach to deal with the remaining “stubbornly poor”.

“You can help a lot of poor people with the general approach (as the economy grows), but you need a targeted approach (to those who are still poor) and to find a specific policy that really empowers them out of poverty,” Kriengsak said.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of reform and opening-up, and Kriengsak said China’s lesson can be useful for others, as the world’s second-largest economy — despite the sheer size of its population — has been able to continue to grow in a fast and modern pace in the past decades.

He said good political leadership and a stable political system can create a favorable environment for the stable growth of China’s economy, which has already exceeded expectations with its GDP growth rate reaching 6.9 percent in 2017.

Kriengsak said the peaceful rise of China should be the theme that will make the world feel certain and secure. “So far, I think China has made this message clear,” he said.

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