By Benjamin Cost
China’s central government raised its poverty standard yesterday, to redefine all citizens making 2,300 yuan (362 USD) or less annually as officially poor.
This latest action, part of a continued campaign to benefit China’s financially floundering rural populace, has not only now labeled 100 million Chinese “impoverished” (up from 27 million just last year under the old 1,274 yuan per capita in net income poverty definition), but has also brought the national poverty threshold in line with the 1.25 USD per day standard outlined by the World Bank.
And in addition to revealing the true figures surrounding China’s poverty issue, the government has launched a full-fledged assault on the problem, targeting the rural areas’ lack of education, poor housing, and substandard medical treatment. It is also providing loans, subsidies, job training, and ample opportunity for rural citizens to pitch in on public works that will directly improve their destitute countryside regions.
Hu loves ya, rural masses
President Hu Jintao summed up the campaign’s mission, stating:
“By 2020, our general target is to ensure that the nation’s impoverished will no longer need to worry about food and clothing. Their access to compulsory education, basic medical care and housing will also be ensured.”
The Chinese government has already made great strides in its war on poverty, as the poverty threshold was upped several times in recent history, from a lowly 206RMB in 1986, to 1,067RMB in 2008, 1,196RMB in 2009, and 1,274RMB in 2010.
In response to the ever-increasing numbers of yuan-strapped rural residents, the government almost tripled its anti-poverty funding during in the course of only one decade, boosting it from a sallow 12.75 billion RMB in 2001 to a robust 34.93 billion RMB in 2010.
And the cash flow’s productiveness clearly shows. Fewer than 12 years ago the country was reportedly home to 94 million poverty-stricken country dwellers when the poverty threshold was established at a measly 865 yuan.
Now, although the current number of the technically poor hovers around the 100 million mark, we’re rating it according to the 2011 poverty standard, which if applied to the year 2000, would undoubtedly expose calculator-imploding numbers of impoverished rural residents.
We’re just hoping that the new poverty standard and the corresponding measures to combat the problem of helping China’s poor follow suit and prove just as fruitful as in years past.