Forty counties in the western and central regions of China announced that they had shaken off poverty after a third-party review, a senior official said.
It's a "periodic achievement" in poverty alleviation work, Xia Gengsheng, deputy director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, said at a news conference in Beijing last week.
Scattered through 11 provincial areas, the 40 counties are said to have all met the criteria for shaking off poverty - meaning the county's poorest population accounts for less than 2 percent of the total population if the county is located in central China, and less than 3 percent in western parts of the country.
The office has entrusted four institutes, including the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Beijing Normal University, to conduct the reviews. More than 1,400 people from 19 institutes participated in the work in June.
Based on the review results, the office announced that 40 counties including Muchuan county in Sichuan province, Wan'an county in Jiangxi Province and Linxi county in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, are no longer poverty-stricken.
Jixian county in Shanxi province, once the poorest area in central China, decreased its poverty rate from 31.7 percent in 2013 to 0.32 percent in 2017, much lower than the national average of 3.1 percent, according to Xia.
The poverty rate in Longzhou county in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region decreased to 1.91 percent in 2017 compared with 31.8 percent four years ago, he said.
In addition to the 40 counties, another 85 counties are waiting for review results in September, according to Xia.
China has committed itself to eliminating poverty by 2020. In 2016, 28 counties including Jinggangshan county in Jiangxi province, were lifted out of poverty, according to previous reports.
But overall, there is still a long way to go for the poverty alleviation work in China, Xia said.
"There are still over 600 counties and districts in deep poverty, posing a great challenge," he said.
According to the office, 62 counties have poverty rates around 20 to 30 percent, while 21 counties are above 30 percent as of the end of 2017.