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China shortens its list of poorest counties

Xinhua, March 28, 2017 Adjust font size:

Lankao County in central China's Henan Province Monday announced its withdrawal from the country's list of impoverished counties.

A county can be removed from the list if less than 2 percent of its population is classified as "impoverished," according to a national mechanism, established in April 2016, to eliminate poverty in affected regions.

In 2014, 11.8 percent of Lankao's population lived in poverty, but the proportion has dropped to 1.27 percent, according to an assessment by the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

After evaluation results were examined and approved by the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, Henan Provincial Government greenlit the county's withdrawal Monday.8 "Today is a commemorable day," said Cai Songtao, secretary of the Lankao County Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at a press conference. "Getting rid of poverty has been the ardent wish of Lankao residents for decades."

In 2014, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, visited Lankao twice as part of a campaign pairing top Party officials with the country's poor areas.

That year, Lankao County authorities made a commitment to casting off poverty in three years and achieving moderate prosperity in seven years.

To achieve success, Cai said that the county government made poverty alleviation its first and primary task.

"Over the course of the process, we've realized that poverty alleviation is not the main goal, but that achieving moderate prosperity matters more," he said.


Figures show that per capita disposable income in urban and rural areas in Lankao rose 7.5 percent and 9.6 percent year on year to 21,124 yuan (3,072 U.S. dollars) and 9,943 yuan in 2016, doubling the amounts in 2013.

The county's economy expanded by 9.4 percent to 25.76 billion yuan in 2016, boosted by upgrades to the agricultural and industrial sectors and ecological tourism in recent years.

Xuchang Village of Guyang Township is rich in paulownia trees, an ideal raw material for musical instrument manufacturing. The village has 54 musical instrument workshops with sales revenue reaching more than 60 million yuan.

Villager Xu Erpai, who could not even pay his own medical bills in the past, has secured an annual income of 300,000 yuan for the past two years.

Funded by the local government, Xu learned to make instrument strings in Yangzhou City in the eastern province of Jiangsu and established a plant in Lankao two years ago.

"We can't blame god or the government for our poverty. Overcoming it is our own business," said Xu, who now owns a two-story building and a vehicle.

After making his personal fortune through a gold accessory business in the provincial capital of Zhengzhou, Dai Yujian was elected Party chief of his home village of Daizhuang in 2014.

"My fellow villagers hoped my business brain would help bring prosperity to the entire village," he said with a smile.

In half a year, he led the villagers in building vegetable greenhouses and concrete roads, and growing trees along the roadside. He also helped villagers sell their vegetables via his personal contacts.

Under Dai's leadership, per capita annual income of poor people surged from 1,400 yuan in 2014 to 3,500 yuan in the village by growing greenhouse vegetables, raising cattle and working in cities.

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