President Xi Jinping called on Wednesday for solid, redoubled efforts in poverty alleviation to win the critical battle of poverty reduction before the end of 2020.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the call in a written instruction for poverty reduction work as the country observed the fifth annual National Poverty Relief Day on Wednesday.
A conference in Beijing on Wednesday recognized people who made outstanding contributions in poverty reduction around the country. Xi's instruction was conveyed to participants at the conference.
Xi said 40 years of reform and opening-up have seen consistent efforts in eradicating poverty as part of a gradual process.
More than 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty in the past four decades — a miracle in the history of poverty reduction, Xi said. Abject poverty that has existed in the country for thousands of years will be eradicated, so the battle against poverty is now at the toughest stage, he added.
He called on government officials to assume their responsibilities, take concrete actions and make united efforts to strive for winning the critical battle against poverty.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, Xi has placed poverty reduction at the top of the list of major tasks as the Party vowed to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020.
The country's target is that by 2020, all rural residents living below the current poverty line will have been lifted out of poverty, and poverty will be eliminated in all poor counties and regions.
To achieve this end, China has adopted the strategy of targeted poverty alleviation, proposed for the first time by Xi in November 2013 during his visit to the village of Shibadong in Huayuan county, Hunan province. It was needed because the previous, one-size-fits-all poverty relief policy no longer worked when it came to the most-impoverished families.
By the end of last year, the country had 30.46 million people in rural areas categorized as living below the poverty line, poverty relief officials said.
In a separate instruction, Premier Li Keqiang said targeted poverty reduction efforts must be strengthened in alignment with the rural revitalization strategy. That will ensure the rural population under the current poverty line can shake off poverty before the end of 2020, he said.
The State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development said on Wednesday that another 85 counties have been officially taken off the country's list of impoverished areas, marking further steps toward eradicating poverty by 2020.
In the past five years, more than 68 million people have been lifted out of poverty, including 8.3 million relocated from inhospitable areas, according to this year's Government Work Report.