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Picturing a prosperous society

As China moves ever closer to its goal eliminating poverty throughout the country, photographers capture the ongoing effort being made to ensure success.

Villagers work in the fields in Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province on July 16, 2016. They have increased output by improving crop cultivation techniques with the help of poverty alleviation officials. [Photo by Zhao Yuanping/For China Daily]

As China hopes to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects at the end of this year, President Xi Jinping has noted that there are areas of weakness in realizing this goal. President Xi said that eradicating poverty is one of the main tasks required to fix these weak links, emphasizing that the focus should be on areas of extreme poverty. He urged the prioritizing of efforts to ensure safe housing, compulsory education and basic medical care for the rural poor, adding that effective measures should be taken to guard against a return to poverty.

Poverty eradication is a common challenge facing the world. At present, nearly 700 million people worldwide still live in extreme poverty. Poverty reduction efforts are further challenged by the continued spread of COVID-19 throughout the world, and it is estimated that 70-100 million people worldwide could fall into extreme poverty again due to the pandemic. In this context, it is particularly necessary to implement effective policies and measures to relieve the plight of the impoverished.

Female college graduates serving as village officials take a break in a field in Sihong county, Suqian, Jiangsu province, on July 24, 2013. [Photo by Li Ge/For China Daily]

Since China launched its reform and opening-up in the late 1970s, the country has carried out large-scale poverty alleviation, embarking on the most spectacular poverty reduction campaign in human history. According to World Bank figures, 850 million people have been lifted out of poverty since the reform and opening-up began. After seven years of targeted efforts, the number of poverty-stricken counties in China dropped from 832 to 52 as of the end of 2019.

The poverty-stricken population dropped from 98.99 million at the end of 2012 to 5.51 million at the end of 2019, representing a drop in the poverty rate of the population from 10.2 percent to 0.6 percent over the same period.

Farmers pick tea leaves in Jinhua village, Meitan county in Southwest China’s Guizhou province, on July 25, 2019. Tea plantation, in addition to tourism, has helped villagers earn three times more than growing pepper, tomato and other crops. [Photo by Zeng Jia/For China Daily]

According to Ou Qingping, deputy head of the State Council Leading Group Office for Poverty Alleviation and Development, will focus its effort on supervising poverty alleviation work in the remaining 52 counties labeled as “impoverished” to ensure that all households in those areas are brought above the poverty threshold by the end of the year.

In these counties, about 1.2 million impoverished people have been relocated to more habitable locations and another 870,000 people who are at risk of returning to poverty have been offered targeted assistance, Ou said at a news conference in August.

Electricity workers carry out comprehensive maintenance of power facilities and home electrical wiring and ammeters in the Qiyue Mountain region, Enshi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture, Central China’s Hubei province, on Dec 7, 2019. [Photo by Chen Xiaolin/For China Daily]

The top priority will then be to solve the issues that hinder the sales of agricultural produce, further promoting poverty alleviation through consumption and improve the monitoring and assistance mechanism to prevent a return to poverty, he said.

Promoting employment has long been used as a tool to fight rural poverty. Local governments have set up more than 30,000 factories near poor villages across the nation to that end.

Once China lifts all of its rural population above the poverty line, it will have helped to meet the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s goals and targets for poverty reduction a full 10 years ahead of schedule.

Tibetans wait for free diagnosis provided by medical experts from Beijing at the People’s Hospital of Sog county in Nagchu, Tibet Autonomous Region, on June 16, 2016, and 19 experts in two medical teams offered free clinic services in such counties. [Photo by Pan Songgang/For China Daily]

China Daily has employed the awareness of its brand”100 Photographers Focus” to record the recent progress in the struggle to eliminate poverty and people’s lives in various areas. The more than 300 photos for this album were selected from among thousands of contributions, a selection of which can be seen here. This picture book illustrates how hard the struggle has been and is also a gift to celebrate the momentous achievement.

Villagers chat under a photovoltaic lamp in Shaguo village in Honghe Hani and Yi autonomous prefecture in Yunnan on Dec 11, 2013. The China Environmental Protection Foundation installed photovoltaic power generation systems to help them. [Photo by Deng Jia/For China Daily]

A bullet train passes through a bridge in Enshi, Central China’s Hubei province on July 1, 2014. Enshi is the first autonomous prefecture in China that had access to the high-speed railway, which helped lift the region out of poverty. [Photo by Teng Jun/For China Daily]

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