Lessons from Chinese miracle of poverty alleviation ? | By Sultan M Hali


Lessons from Chinese miracle of poverty alleviation ?

CHINA has managed to put the genie of destitution and absolute poverty back in its bottle and sealed it tight.

The miracle has been achieved even before the scheduled date of the 100th Birthday of the Communist Party of China (CPC). It was no mean task, since the origins of China were very humble.

In this bleak backdrop, China’s meteoric rise to become the second largest economy in the world was a marvel.

Other countries too have had incredible changes of fortune, some with the discovery of fossil fuels or rich minerals, while a few benefitted from their strategic location.

Such spectacular rise in many, has had its downside that it created two distinct strata of society, the upper and the lower class, the middle class disappeared because there was no equitable distribution of wealth.

Learning from the adverse experience of others, the Chinese leadership resolved to build a moderately prosperous society instead of some entrepreneurs becoming filthy rich while others languished in poverty.

Sound planning, astute implementation of the strategy succeeded in a country, which is nearly the size of a continent and has challenging locations ranging from arid deserts to towering mountains, ravines and inclement weather.

To make the achievement of the lofty goal even more daunting, the global pandemic Coronavirus struck in early 2020.

The timing of the epidemic striking China and the world made it even more intimidating.

Lunar New Year and Spring Festival is a major celebration for the Chinese just like the festivity of Christmas or Eid.

Chinese take time off to go home and be with their loved ones for this grand occasion.

It goes to the credit of the Chinese Government that it canceled the 2020 celebrations, forced a lockdown and quarantined the sick and established hospitals and treatment centres.

The economy suffered a major blow because of the pandemic but China continued to support its own citizens, as well as reaching out to others in need and continued the quest of developing a potent vaccine against COVID-19.

Amidst these Herculean Tasks, it is creditable that the Chinese leadership managed to achieve its aim of eradicating absolute poverty ahead of the target set.

The monumental feat was accomplished through relentless efforts and needs to be emulated by other nations desirous of combating the scourge of destitution and creating a moderate middle class society.

Since China’s success comes a decade ahead of the poverty reduction goal set by the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; UN Secretary-General António Guterres has declared that China’s poverty reduction experience “can provide valuable lessons to other developing countries.”

The major ones are: First and foremost, China’s struggle for poverty alleviation epitomizes the people-centred philosophy of the Chinese government.

In 2020, all of China’s nearly 100 million impoverished rural residents living below the current poverty line cast off poverty after eight years’ efforts.

Moreover, people in 98 percent of poor villages in areas of extreme poverty now have broadband access, which has vastly narrowed the urban-rural digital gap.

—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.