The central authorities have vowed to investigate any falsification of local governments in poverty alleviation data. Only the central authorities－no other departments－will be in charge of inspecting and assessing local governments' performance in poverty relief this year. Beijing News comments:
In 2015, when the central authorities set the year 2020 as the deadline to eliminate abject rural poverty, about 55.75 million people still lived under the nation's poverty line of per person per day.
By the end of last year, there was still an impoverished rural population of 30.46 million nationwide, making this year critical for some regions' poverty alleviation efforts if they are to finish the task before the deadline.
As a result, some grassroots officials have resorted to exaggerating the incomes of households so they can report they have fulfilled their mission.
Also, some local governments provide various kinds of subsidies to the poor families and count the subsidies as these families' income, while not caring about how the recipients use the money.
While such poverty relief efforts work well on paper, they do not address the root causes of poverty, for instance the lack of education resources and infrastructure.
To prevent such practices becoming even more rampant as the deadline approaches, it is necessary for the central authorities to put poverty alleviation under stricter scrutiny and hold officials accountable for any deceptive practices.
A third party should evaluate, in a transparent way, the results of local governments' poverty alleviation efforts, which must be monitored beyond 2020, because over time it is likely some households will slip back into poverty, and also some instant-results poverty relief will be laid bare as time goes by.