URUMQI — China’s northwest Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region lifted nearly 1.85 million people out of poverty between 2014 and 2017, thanks to more supportive policies implemented in southern poverty-stricken areas.
The region’s poverty alleviation office said that during this period, nearly 470,000 households covering 1.85 million people were lifted out of poverty, with the impoverished headcount ratio dropping from 22.84 percent to 11.57 percent.
Thanks to support from the central government as well as other provinces and enterprises that have been providing aid for Xinjiang, the region has implemented a series of policies favoring the development of industries, rural tourism, education and healthcare in its southern areas.
In 2017, the region invested over 6.1 billion yuan ($879 million) in fighting poverty, with more than 80 percent of the investment being allocating to four southern prefectures — Hotan, Kashgar, Aksu and Kizilsu Kirgiz, which sit on the edge of the Taklimakan Desert, the largest desert in China and the second-largest shifting sand desert in the world.
People living in these prefectures have suffered from erratic weather and poverty for decades.
As of last year, there were more than 1.33 million people living in extreme poverty in these areas.
However, around 410,000 impoverished people in the four prefectures are expected to be lifted out of poverty in accordance with a three-year poverty relief plan.
To help more people escape poverty, the region has also been making continuous efforts to increase local employment. A growing number of people living below the national poverty line have as a result found better-paid jobs with steady incomes.
Ahmat Abdullat is a prime example. He was once a poor farmer in Tetir township, Kashgar where he would make a living from growing and selling walnuts, alongside temporary work.
Ahmat took part in a training course hosted by a Shanghai-based textiles and garment enterprise at the beginning of this year. Thanks to that, he is now a workshop safety supervisor of the enterprise and earns around 2,500 yuan per month. He said this job has helped his family escape poverty.
Meanwhile, Awarigul Tetir has worked for a Shanghai-based fruit company for two years in Kashgar. She is very proud of her job, saying, “I just want to work harder and earn more, so that I can decorate my house and make it more beautiful and comfortable.”