Encouraging a work ethic and a spirit of self-reliance is essential to poverty relief, not just government policies, officials from impoverished villages said at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office on Thursday.[Special coverage]
"Poverty relief doesn't mean just giving money," said Zhao Huijie, Party secretary of the village of Xiaomiaozi in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. "The important thing is that individuals gain the determination to become better off through diligent work. It is just like blood transfusions and blood producing. The former can save a life, but the latter helps with health."
China's impoverished population, which stood at more than 98 million at the end of 2012, was cut by two-thirds in the past five-years, the best performance in the country's history of poverty reduction.
The central government has set a goal to complete the building of a "moderately prosperous society" in all respects by 2021, which requires the eradication of extreme poverty.
To achieve this goal, a series of poverty alleviation policies have been carried out. Helping impoverished people to learn new skills and offering alternative ways to support their lives are important.
As an example, Zhao cited a family of three, each of whom had a disability or disease.
"At the beginning, we applied a basic living allowance and other benefits for them, but it didn't meet their life demands," she said. "However, after we sorted out the problems and helped them earn money by raising pigs, the family gained income, as well as a passion for self-sustaining work."
Cao Qinghua, Party secretary of Lianzhu township in Yunnan province, said role models were set up there to inspire villagers to help themselves out of poverty.
"Once there is competition for getting out of poverty within a village, those from impoverished families are more likely to seize their chances using preferential policies provided by the government," he said. "At the same time, role models can inspire people to set their own goals for getting rich."
What local officials need to do is to provide a springboard through preferential policies, Cao said.
Li Jun, Party secretary of the village of Xiuyun in Sichuan province, said achievements made through their own hard work can motivate villagers to maintain their efforts toward a better life.
"In our village, residents are supposed to keep their clothes neat and rooms tidy because, in addition to developing profitable businesses, we encourage a whole spirit of vitality and optimism," he added.