The Communist Party of China finally realized its long-term goal of eradicating abject poverty from the country and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects last year.
How did the Party make this huge achievement in a country that accounts for nearly one-fifth of the global population?
Based on its political philosophy, the Party adhered to people-centric governance and made it its goal to meet people's ever-growing material and cultural needs for a better life. It is this philosophy that also prompted the Party to give top priority to poverty alleviation work, and endeavor to develop China into a modern socialist country.
It is the essence of socialism to eradicate poverty, improve people's livelihood and achieve common prosperity, President Xi Jinping said when inspecting poverty alleviation and development work in Fuping, Hebei province, in December 2012.
To those in need, the Party and the government must pay special attention to and care for them, do everything possible to help them out, and we must always keep in mind the safety and well-being of the people, and deliver the warmth of the Party and the government to every household, Xi emphasized such remarks reflect the Party's people-centric philosophy guiding its poverty alleviation work.
During the time of war, poverty alleviation work under the Party's leadership basically combined economic construction in the base areas, and the mechanism used to alleviate poverty was usually combined with the country's economic system. After the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, China gradually established a relatively comprehensive social assistance system under the Party's leadership. And after the launching of reform and opening-up in the late 1970s, the Party accelerated its poverty alleviation work, and formed a leading group under the State Council, China's Cabinet, on May 16, 1986, to coordinate poverty alleviation work nationwide.
Following the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, China intensified its efforts to eliminate poverty, and established a working mechanism with the central authorities doing the overall planning, provincial-level governments assuming overall responsibility, and city- and county-level governments implementing the policies and providing strong institutional guarantees for poverty alleviation work.
In February, the top authorities issued a document detailing specific measures to assess the performance of provincial-level governments in poverty alleviation work, which prompted leading cadres to intensify their efforts to eradicate poverty. Poverty alleviation work under the Party's leadership has been driven by a set of institutions established after duly exploring multiple avenues.
The Party-led poverty alleviation work has gone through a long, arduous process with twists and turns. Since the 18th Party Congress, an important feature of China's poverty alleviation work has been targeted poverty alleviation and development-oriented poverty alleviation, with the former emphasizing good management and precise support, and the latter focusing on accelerating economic development to eradicate poverty. It is these measures that helped China to eliminate abject poverty by the end of 2020.
Poverty alleviation work is a complex and laborious job, given that each step and detail needs policy coordination among multiple departments and a lot of resources. For instance, more than 3 million first Party secretaries and village officials have been appointed nationwide, and governments at all levels have allocated nearly 1.6 trillion yuan ($244.59 billion) as special funds for poverty alleviation. Some officials have even sacrificed their lives to make the poverty alleviation drive a success.
The convening of a meeting in February to summarize poverty eradication work marked the completion of the arduous task of eliminating absolute poverty. But this does not mean there will be no poverty in the country. In fact, given that relative poverty still exists in China, we need to use poverty alleviation achievements to promote rural revitalization.
Considering a number of families and individuals could slip back into poverty in the event of a natural disaster, an accident or an epidemic, the authorities should work out a long-term policy to further improve the social assistance system. They also need to improve the basic living assistance system and the medical assistance system, as well as the education, housing and employment sectors, and provide adequate aid for disaster victims.
Poverty has had a strong impact on people's life throughout China's 5,000-year history. Yet in the course of just one century, the Party has led the Chinese people to eliminate abject poverty through arduous efforts and intense struggles. This is not only a great contribution to Chinese civilization, but also a rare miracle in human history.
However, China still faces difficulties and problems on its journey to develop into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful. But the Party's leadership and the Chinese people's hard work will help the country realize this dream of national rejuvenation.
The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.
The author is a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
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