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Qingdao’s new area shakes off poverty at a “Shenzhen speed”,December 13, 2017 Adjust font size:

Located in east China’s Shandong Province, the Qingdao West Coast New Area, established in June 2014 as part of a national-level strategy, is home to a number of major industrial chains. In 2016, with its functional districts flourishing, the area reached a “Shenzhen speed” with its anti-poverty work: All its residents were out of poverty, including 4,278 rural households (7,250 people), 769 urban households (1,271 people), 41 villages, and 5 towns.

“We not only need to ensure that people have food to eat and clothes to wear but also that they have adequate education, health services, housing, and transportation,” said Li Chunrong, director of the Qingdao West Coast New Area Poverty Relief Office.

In terms of guaranteed medical treatment, the new area created a new healthcare model: It was the first in Shandong to provide both rural and urban impoverished households with “express wave-through” services, which includes referral of patients to other hospitals for treatment; systematic, categorized medical assistance; and post-hospitalization payment. The establishment of a 20-million-yuan (U.S. $3 million) medical aid fund for rural impoverished people has reduced patients’ critical-illness medical costs by more than 99%; and basic medical insurance for rural poor is fully subsidized.

Zhang Zhong is a provincially registered impoverished person in Wangtai Town. Since January 2016, he has been hospitalized on three occasions with costs totaling more than 160,000 yuan (U.S. $24,000). But, thanks to medical funding and aid, Zhang was able to receive the necessary treatment for only 492 yuan (U.S. $70), at practically no cost.

In terms of education, the new area was one of the first to exempt impoverished students studying in preschools, high schools, and vocational schools from tuition and fees. Meanwhile, it distributed, in stages, 8.42 million yuan (U.S. $1.3 million) of living allowances and grants to 1,052 impoverished students ranging from preschool education to higher education.

In terms of housing and transportation, the new area invested more than 10.47 million yuan (U.S. $1.5 million) to renovate the dilapidated houses of all the impoverished rural households, to build asphalt roads in all impoverished villages, and to run public transportation in 62 villages.

In terms of social security, the new area increased the basic monthly living allowance in both urban and rural areas to 650 yuan (U.S. $100) and 580 yuan (U.S. $85) respectively; allocated 36.09 million yuan (U.S. $5.4 million) to provide the impoverished with a basic subsistence allowance; and purchased universal accident insurance as well as household property insurance for all impoverished households. In addition, 200 disabled impoverished households were moved into residential-care institutions while 924 incapacitated, partially disabled, or severely disabled households received home-based care services.

It should be noted that, while fighting rural poverty, the Qingdao West Coast New Area became a leader in the elimination of overall poverty as well: In 2016, the new area was the first administrative body in Shandong to undertake urban-poverty alleviation, publishing and enacting the Suggestions on Targeted Urban Poverty Alleviation. The new area’s finance department merged minimum-living-allowance policy with poverty alleviation policy, so that registered poor and eligible households receiving minimum living allowances can benefit from both. In 2016, the new area invested 37.95 million yuan (U.S. $5.6 million) and lifted 769 urban impoverished households (1,271 impoverished people) out of poverty.

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