President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, joins deliberation with deputies from Gansu Province at the second session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 7, 2019. (Photo/Xinhua)
Remaining poor areas will be 'most difficult', so use practical steps, Xi tells NPC deputies
The toughest battle that President Xi Jinping might face in the next two years, judging from his remarks at the top legislature's annual session, will be eliminating poverty in the world's most populous country.
"We are facing tough and arduous tasks to reduce poverty in the following two years, and the remaining are the most impoverished and difficult places, which are hard bones to chew," Xi said during a discussion on March 7 with lawmakers from Gansu province.
Apart from less-developed Gansu, Xi also mentioned poverty reduction and rural vitalization in his talks with National People's Congress deputies from Henan and Fujian provinces.
"I have visited many impoverished rural places. I always asked, 'What do you need?'" Xi said while talking with a village official from Henan on March 8. "We should make practical efforts to carry out the tasks of poverty reduction now and then move forward," he said.
It's rare for Xi to emphasize the same issue in talks with deputies from three different places during annual sessions of the National People's Congress. He often focuses on one major topic for each province.
President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, joins deliberation with deputies from Gansu province at the second session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing, March 7, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]
Xi warned that officials should neither cheat in their evaluation of poverty reduction work nor make unrealistic promises to poor people.
According to the president, the criteria of poverty reduction is to see that the basic living needs of rural poor populations are met and that such people have access to compulsory education, basic medical services and housing.
Last year, Xi was elected as an NPC deputy by the People's Congress of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, a less-developed area of the country. He explained that his participation in the election in Inner Mongolia reflected the Party's determination to fight poverty.
China has set the goal of lifting all the country's rural impoverished people out of poverty by 2020, which will be the first time in thousands of years of Chinese history that extreme poverty will have been eliminated.
According to China's plan, roughly 10 million could be lifted out of poverty each year. Last year, a total of 13.86 million rural poor people were lifted out of poverty, including 2.8 million people relocated from inhospitable areas.