China’s achievement in poverty alleviation proves that poverty is not predestined, nor is it unconquerable. China stands ready to continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with PNG on poverty reduction and share China’s experience and development dividends with PNG, to help people in this great country live a better life, CHEN JILIANG writes
THE eradication of poverty has been a dream of human beings since ancient times.
The history of humankind is a history of relentless struggle against poverty.
Lifting people out of poverty is always an important task for all countries, particularly developing countries.
As the world’s largest developing country with a population of 1.4 billion, China’s story of poverty eradication can provide useful reference and experience to other developing countries.
From the middle of the 19th century, foreign aggression and the decadence of the imperial dynasty reduced China to a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society, and hundreds of millions of its people were plunged into poverty or even extreme poverty.
The nation had long been plagued by poverty at a scale and a level of severity that has rarely been seen anywhere else in the world.
As a result, the challenge of poverty alleviation in China almost defies imagination.
The Communist Party of China led the people to build the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and implemented reform and opening up in 1978, opening a new journey towards prosperity.
China’s fight against poverty entered a critical stage after the 18th Communist Party of China national congress in 2012.
At the end of last year, through eight years of hard work, China achieved the goal of eliminating extreme poverty for the first time in its history.
Since reform and opening up, more than 770 million of China’s rural population living below the current poverty line have been raised from poverty, accounting for more than 70 per cent of the global total over the same period, according to the World Bank’s international poverty standard.
As declared in the white paper poverty alleviation: China’s Experience and Contribution, China, which accounts for nearly one-fifth of the world’s population, has completely eradicated extreme poverty – the first target of the United Nations 2030 agenda for sustainable development – 10 years ahead of schedule.
China’s achievement in poverty alleviation proves that poverty is not predestined, nor is it unconquerable.
As long as developing countries find a poverty reduction path that suits their own national conditions, they can certainly achieve the goal of poverty eradication.
China’s experience on poverty alleviation is to maintain strong leadership, uphold people-centered approach, keep whole-of-society mobilisation and adopt the strategy of targeted poverty alleviation.
China always keeps other developing countries’ poverty alleviation in mind and actively works with all parties to deepen international cooperation in poverty reduction and share its experience and practice.
China and Papua New Guinea are both developing countries.
China has continued to provide assistance within its capacity to PNG and strengthened cooperation in poverty reduction under the framework of South-South Cooperation, on the basis of equality and common development. In recent years, the two sides carried out sound cooperation under the Belt and Road framework, which has become a new pathway to growth and poverty alleviation.
In 1997, China introduced into PNG the juncao and upland rice technology, which had proved to be very successful in China’s poverty reduction work, to help local people get rid of poverty.
The Chinese expert group has been in the Eastern Highlands for 20 years and has trained many local people in the fields to grow rice and mushroom. At present, there are more than 700 mushroom farmers in Eastern Highlands, and more than half are women. Over 3,000 farmers have mastered the growth technology of upland rice.
Zaka Abori, a farmer in Komiufa village, Gahuku local level government, Goroka, started planting juncao in February last year, and at the end of December, she made K13,000.
She promoted sale through a social app and opened up the commercial chain of juncao.
Easter Highlands Governor Peter Numu said rice was the grass for poverty alleviation and prosperity.
Last year, China and the Eastern Highlands government signed an agreement to expand the juncao and upland rice technology center to benefit more local people.
The juncao and upland rice project is only one example of China-PNG cooperation in poverty reduction.
China assisted with infrastructure projects such as the Independence Boulevard, Enga Hospital and Butuka Academy, and provided annual scholarships to young PNG students to help PNG cultivate more talents for development and invigorate the nation through science and education.
These joint efforts between China and PNG are good embodiment of the friendship and common interests of the two countries and concrete contribution to build a global community of shared future that is free from poverty.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and PNG.
China stands ready to continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with PNG on poverty reduction and share China’s experience and development dividends with PNG, to help people in this great country live a better life.
Chen Jiliang is Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the Chinese Embassy.