China in 2018: Lifting living conditions through poverty relief and more
Updated 11:48, 27-Dec-2018
By Zhou Jingnan

"The extreme poverty that has existed for thousands of years for the Chinese nation is now close to being historically solved and China's tough battle against poverty has entered the most crucial stage." – Xi Jinping

In 2018, the Chinese government has worked on various fronts to improve people's livelihoods, including continuing its anti-poverty campaign, tackling the vaccine safety issue and enhancing living standards.   

As one of the key tasks for China before it formally becomes a moderately prosperous society, the goal of eradicating absolute poverty by 2020 has gained more momentum this year. 

President Xi Jinping delivers New Year's greetings to residents of Zhanqi Village of Pidu District in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Feb. 12, 2018. /Xinhua Photo

President Xi Jinping delivers New Year's greetings to residents of Zhanqi Village of Pidu District in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Feb. 12, 2018. /Xinhua Photo

According to the government work report released in March, China will in 2018 further reduce the poor rural population by over 10 million, including 2.8 million people who are to be relocated from inhospitable areas.

The document also promised to alleviate poverty through the development of local industries, education, and healthcare, and through the development and conservation of local ecological resources. 

Highlights in targeted poverty relief

Under the concept of targeted poverty reduction raised by Chinese President Xi Jinping, fruitful results have been generated in China in 2018. 

Local governments have taken measures to help impoverished areas create self-generated measures to fight poverty.

Guangzong, a state-supported impoverished county in north China's Hebei Province, encourages its villagers to shake off poverty through participating in edible fungus farming.

The industry has brought each farmer an annual income of about 10,000 yuan, or roughly 1,448 U.S. dollars – way above the poverty line of 2,300 yuan (336 U.S. dollars) – while leading to the employment of over 2,000 local residents in the county.   

A farmer is trimming edible fungus in a greenhouse in Dabaishe Village, Guangzong County, Hebei Province, China, August 31, 2018. /Xinhua Photo

A farmer is trimming edible fungus in a greenhouse in Dabaishe Village, Guangzong County, Hebei Province, China, August 31, 2018. /Xinhua Photo

Better infrastructure facilities are also considered as a significant anti-poverty barometer. 

This year, 91,000 poor people in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region have accessed safe drinking water.  A place called Yanchi has become one of the earliest impoverished counties to provide households with tap water. 

In September, Yanchi was the first of the nine counties in Ningxia's Xihaigu region – once known as "the place unfit for human life" – to be lifted out of poverty, with an annual disposable income of 8,145 yuan (1,180 U.S. dollars) per person, as well as increased proliferation of compulsory education and basic medical treatment and improved housing in all of its 74 impoverished villages.

As stressed by President Xi at a video conference in June, efforts should be focused on areas of abject poverty and special groups of poor people so that no village or individual will be left behind. China's anti-poverty work has covered as many destitute people as possible. 

Other matters affecting people's well-being

In July this year, China's second-largest rabies vaccine manufacturer, the Jilin-based Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Limited, sparked outrage among the Chinese public after it was revealed that it fabricated production and inspection records. 

The Changchun Changsheng vaccine case has caused great anger among the Chinese public.

The Changchun Changsheng vaccine case has caused great anger among the Chinese public.

President Xi urged authorities to attach great importance to the case and demanded the authorities publicize investigation results promptly and respond to public concerns effectively.

A number of officials of Jilin Province and its capital Changchun, including then director of Jilin Food and Drug Administration, were punished. Penalties totaling over 9.1 billion yuan (1.32 billion U.S. dollars) were handed out to the company. 

Regarding other aspects of people's welfare, the number of newly employed persons reached 12 million between January and October this year, accomplishing the yearly goal of 11 million in advance.

Also in 2018, about one-third of Chinese provinces increased the minimum wage. 

The lowest wage in provinces like Shanghai and Guangdong has surpassed the threshold of 2,000 yuan (290 U.S. dollars).  

"We must adhere to a people-oriented approach and keep delivering on the aspirations of the people for a better life," President Xi said at a conference celebrating 40 years of China's reform and opening-up in December. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, addresses a grand gathering to celebrate the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Dec. 18, 2018. /Xinhua Photo

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, addresses a grand gathering to celebrate the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Dec. 18, 2018. /Xinhua Photo

The Chinese nation and its people are approaching this better life with steadier and faster steps. 

(Top image designed by Yu Peng)