Online services play greater role in reducing rural poverty: observer
China will lift an additional 30 million people out of poverty in the next three years as part of its efforts to eradicate poverty by 2020, a latest guideline read.
Experts said a harsh natural environment and lack of awareness among rural people to "help themselves" are the biggest challenges.
China released a guideline on Sunday on winning the battle against poverty. It is an arduous task to lift an additional 30 million people out of poverty in the next three years, said the guideline released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, China's cabinet.
The guideline reiterated the country's target of lifting all rural poor and impoverished counties out of poverty and eliminating absolute poverty by 2020 to build a moderately prosperous society, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.
Poor people should be guaranteed food and clothing, and children from poor families should be guaranteed the nine-year compulsory education. And their basic medical needs and living conditions should also be guaranteed, the guideline said.
The guideline explained that poverty relief work should be focused on areas where abject poverty exists, such as Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Southwest China's Sichuan Province and Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture in Southwest China's Yunnan Province.
The guideline highlighted fostering distinctive industries, supporting employment, advancing relocation, ecological restoration and strengthening education. It also listed other poverty alleviation measures, including accelerating infrastructure development in poor regions, increasing fiscal and financial support, social mobilization, and strengthening and improving Party leadership in poverty reduction.
Yu Shaoxiang, an expert on social security and poverty relief legislation at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday that "it will be difficult to accomplish the task as the 30 million people live in a poor natural environment and insufficient infrastructure."
Unlike social maintenance measures, the task of poverty alleviation not only aims to provide them with subsidies but also to teach them to help themselves, Yu said.
He noted that the biggest challenge is not about how much money the central government will provide, but how to improve their awareness.
"Many villagers believe they are entitled to government help. They would squander the money given to them," Yu said.
More than 68 million people have been lifted out of poverty, including 8.3 million who were relocated from inhospitable areas, with the poverty ratio dropping from 10.2 to 3.1 percent, according to this year's Government Work Report.
To make full use of the "Internet Plus" to attract greater involvement in helping the poor, the State Council set up an online platform in July 2017 named Social Participation in Poverty Alleviation and Development.
Online services have gradually played a bigger role in reducing poverty by promoting agricultural goods produced by poor people and by bringing high-quality education closer to more children in remote mountainous regions through the internet.
"In the past two years, e-businesses in Northwest China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region have rapidly developed and many local residents have benefited from poverty relief measures with the help of internet," Huang Changhui, director of the Yuli county e-business association told the Global Times on Monday. Yuli county is 520 kilometers to the regional capital Urumqi.