The State Council has issued China’s first five-year plan on poverty alleviation — a sign of the country’s readiness to crack a very tough nut. Between 2011 and 2015, China’s poverty rate had a drastic decline from 17.2 percent to 5.7 percent. But there are still some challenges. 56.3 million people still live in poverty. That is equivalent to the population of a medium-sized country. Most of the people are from rural areas.
To improve living standards in those areas, the State Council has set a range of targets. These include higher annual and disposable incomes, and a reduced number of empoverished villages and counties. Poverty-stricken people will be provided with adequate food, clothing and covered by basic medical care by 2020.