By Beth Main
Xi Jinping made a visit to impoverished villages in Fuping County over the weekend December 29 to 30 and has urged local authorities to do more to alleviate poverty.
According to Chinese state media, he spent more than 20 hours, travelling over 700 kilometers in weather as cold as minus -10 degrees Celsius, visiting villages and meeting with locals in Fuping County, Hebei Province.
He saw firsthand what a struggle life can be in two villages, Luotuowan and Gujiatai, and listened to villagers’ problems concerning income, food, education and medical care.
“The General Secretary knows life here is difficult and he visited us to ask about our situation. He won’t let us suffer,” said 67-year-old Luotuowan resident Tang Zongxiu.
Statistics show that the annual net income per capita for farmers in Fuping County is only around 2,400 yuan (390 U.S. dollars). According to the current poverty line of 2,300 yuan China has 128 million impoverished people in rural areas.
Xi called for authorities to try harder to help alleviate poverty and condemned corruption that would hinder this process. Poverty is a serious social problem for China and is thrown into sharp relief by an extreme wealth gap between the rich and poor, one of many factors that experts say could lead to civil unrest.
In line with new cutbacks, Xinhua reports that:
According to Li Ningtai, secretary of the CPC Fuping County Committee, Xi stayed in a 16-square meter hotel room during the visit and followed the rule that every meal only consist of four household dishes and one bowl of soup.