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China unveils plan to reduce poverty via IT and internet services in 2020 by Zhao Binyu,March 26, 2020 Adjust font size:

The Cyberspace Administration of China, National Development and Reform Commission, State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently issued a statement about key poverty alleviation measures related to information technology and internet services that the country will take in 2020.

The release states that 99 percent of all of China’s villages should have fiber optic internet and 4G network coverage by the end of 2020 and that 99 percent of impoverished villages should at least have broadband internet. It also indicates that e-commerce and express services should be present in every town and village in the country in order to enhance impoverished people’s abilities to increase their incomes. The document emphasizes that information services and public welfare systems on the internet should be improved and that the enhanced connectivity that is achieved via these kinds of endeavors will allow everyone to participate in poverty reduction by purchasing products from impoverished people and taking part in other methods.


Zhang Qin uses her smartphone to live-stream footage of farmers picking vegetables in Huitang village, Huitang town, Ningxiang city, Hunan province in order to promote their products. (Photo by Chen Sihan/Xinhua)

The notice also covers the COVID-19 outbreak and mentions that information technologies, including cloud computing, big data, and others, should be fully harnessed for epidemic prevention and control purposes in poverty-stricken areas. It notes that network services should be used to benefit impoverished people as well, and that existing resources should be fully utilized. Relevant institutions should carry out distance education, telemedicine, and remote psychological counseling sessions and that the internet should be used to provide healthcare, transportation, and livelihood services in a timely manner.

The statement indicates that information services should be improved, and the “internet + public employment service” model should be promoted in prioritized areas among impoverished groups. It also communicates that people who fall into poverty or return to it as a result of diseases should be assisted as much as possible, and the “internet + healthcare services” system should be advanced. Targeted poverty alleviation measures for left-behind people should be implemented. It indicates that support should be strengthened for impoverished disabled people, and data sharing between rehabilitation, education, employment, social security among, and other areas should be promoted. The document covers languages as well and states that distance education platforms should be established for the purpose of helping ethnic minorities improve their Mandarin abilities, and smart software should be developed that can translate their languages.

The release stresses that greater pairing assistance, tracking, and supervision should be applied to poverty alleviation partnerships between enterprises involved with network services and impoverished regions. Digital services should continue to be rolled out in rural areas, and the counties that have escaped from poverty in a steady and sustainable manner should be included in the national digital village pilot program and given support. Internet and information literacy training should be provided for impoverished people, and a long-term system that promotes poverty reduction via internet services should be established that includes the provision of internet education in people’s homes in deeply impoverished areas.


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