Fewer live below poverty line, but challenges remain

Updated 2017-05-19 13:30:28 chinaplus.cri.cn
A new house under construction in Baohao village in a mountainous area of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China.

A new house under construction in Baohao village in a mountainous area of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China.

Despite fewer and fewer people living below the poverty line here in China, Chinese authorities are still facing siginficant challenges in their goal of lifting everyone in China above poverty levels by 2020.

Bahao village is located in a mountainous area of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China.

There are currently around 500 households living in there.

A lack of basic necessities, as well as the difficult living conditions in the mountains, has left more than half of the villagers still under the poverty line.

Qin Hanfeng, a local public servant who is in charge of a project to assist the poor and develop the local economy, says the need for infrastructure is urgent.

"Currently, some poverty households are still not connected by roads, and they have a strong appeal, that is to improve their transportation through government aid program."

An ancient Chinese proverb says" if you want to be rich, first build up the roads.

But with the difficult natural conditions around Bahao Village, the local government has decided relocation is the best option.

Authorities are now assisting those who want to take part in the relocation program.

Lan Yueying is one of them.

"I was living in my old house for 24 years. When my children are small, life is really hard. But now with the new house, and my youngest son is working outside the village, life is getting better."

Even though moving out of the village might seem the practical choice, around 200 households are still holding back, and unwilling to leave their homes.

Unwilling to force them from their ancestral homes, the local government is now taking steps to try to improve the local infrastructure, building roads, as well as clinics and schools.

Until recently, students from Bahao needed to walk some 3 hours along mountainous trails to get to their school.

Benefits from the local infrastructure program are obvious to these youngsters.

Bahao village is just one of an estimated 128-thousand poverty stricken villages in China.

The Chinese government has set a goal of pulling everyone above the national poverty line by 2020.

But with the deadline fast approaching, local and regional authorities concede that time is of the essence.

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