China is making real headway in its attempt to eradicate poverty, but it must flush out any dishonesty in the process. Fighting poverty must focus on the fundamentals and must not be muddied by manipulation and the reporting of false data.
China has set 2020 as the target year to finish create a “moderately prosperous society,” and a key goal of the target is to eradicate poverty in the country.
China has lifted 700 million people out of poverty over about 30 years, but in the coming years poverty relief work will become increasingly difficult as it nears its end.
Despite China's steady economic growth in recent decades, there were still 43.35 million people living in poverty at the end of last year.
Most of them are deemed as “the bottom of the pan,” a term coined to describe those that will be hardest to lift out from poverty, since many are in areas without roads or power.
China has adopted a strategy of targeted poverty alleviation, meaning appropriate resources should be used on the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
However, certain local officials have been found to pass poverty work to lower levels regardless of difficulties, with some falsifying numbers to gain promotions, and preventing the poorest from benefiting from this concerted national drive.
In a government work report delivered at the annual parliamentary session earlier this month, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang vowed to carry out the strictest possible evaluations and assessments of poverty alleviation.
“Stern measures will be taken to address deception, falsification, and the manipulation of numbers in poverty elimination work,” Li said.
The Chinese government last week started targeted inspections on the use and management of poverty relief funds in 28 provinces and regions, aiming to uncover any irregularities in this area of key government concern.
In addition, inspections in any given region will be evaluated by officials from other regions so as to ensure impartiality.
Escaping poverty is not the stuff of empty words but something that must be carried-out carefully and deliberately, step by step.
Corruption, fraud or embezzlement in poverty-relief funds must be dealt with in the severest ways possible to ensure poverty work achieves the best results possible, is respected by the people and stands the test of time.