The rush to the cities has left rural communities with shrinking populations and fewer job opportunities. In the face of this decline, Xi’s poverty alleviation policies have focused on the countryside.
In its announcement, Xinhua quoted an expert who said this marked the end of “the millenia-old issue of extreme poverty.”
But despite what appears to be a major achievement, there appears to be some confusion in state-run media and among experts over whether this signifies the end of poverty in China.
Speaking on Tuesday at his daily news conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that China had “completed the goal of achieving a comprehensive poverty alleviation by the end of 2020.” “The hard-won results are gratifying,” he said.
But others have been more cautious. State-run tabloid Global Times quoted experts as saying that the Chinese government needed to “comprehensively review” the poverty alleviation results, and would announce a result likely in the first half of 2021.
According to Xinhua, Xia said that first there would need to be “random inspections” and “censuses” and then once all the standards had been met, it would be up to the Communist Party’s Central Committee to announce that “the battle against poverty has been won.”
A national divide
Whether or not the target has been officially met, experts said that there was little doubt that the Chinese government would announce within months that it had met its goal of ending absolute poverty by the end of 2020.
While poverty experts around the world have praised China’s work in helping end deprivation in the country, there has also been criticism of both Beijing’s goals and its methods in reaching them.
The divide isn’t just between rural and urban centers but even between cities themselves. While large population centers like Beijing and Shanghai, mainly on the east coast, have seen rapid gains in wealth and living standards, many second…