Xi trumpets 'miracle' leap out of poverty

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 26 Feb 2021

President Xi Jinping yesterday declared the country has achieved the miracle of eliminating extreme poverty, though questions continue on the Chinese Communist Party's criteria for the claim.

In a ceremony in Beijing, Xi bestowed medals on officials from rural communities and promised to share this "Chinese example" with other developing nations. "No other country can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in such a short time," he said. "A human miracle has been created that will go down in history."

China last year claimed it had achieved its goal of lifting all of its people above a poverty line of US$2.30 (HK$17.8) in daily income.

That is slightly above the World Bank's lowest threshold of US$1.90 but below what is recommended for higher income countries.

The World Bank says China has lifted more than 800 million people from extreme poverty since market reforms in the 1970s after decades of state planning and ill-advised Maoist campaigns.

Xi vowed in 2015 to eradicate extreme poverty by 2020 - a key point in the CCP's goal of building a "moderately prosperous society" by the 100th anniversary of its founding this year.

Ahead of the deadline, billions of yuan were poured into infrastructure and offering tax incentives and subsidies to impoverished rural communities.

The standard of living has indeed changed dramatically since the 1970s, with hundreds of millions living consumer lifestyles that past generations could not have imagined. But critics point to the relatively low poverty line, claims of corruption cases linked to poverty funds and perennial questions over whether data is massaged to meet party objectives.

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