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A typical village in hunger eradication and poverty reduction bears Mr. Xi’s mark

A typical village in hunger eradication and poverty reduction bears Mr. Xi's mark 0

A typical village in hunger eradication and poverty reduction bears Mr. Xi’s mark

Photo taken of President Xi Jinping during his visit to the village in Lankhao district, Henan province, China in 2014. Photo: AFP.

When President Xi Jinping visited Lankhao county in the central province of Henan in 2014, the locality was known nationwide as one of the poorest places in China.

Three years have passed, as the Party Congress prepares to open on October 18, this poor district has miraculously `transformed`, surpassing the national poverty line, AFP reported.

With newly paved village roads, a spacious village cultural center, and a memorial area for Mr. Xi’s visit, the village located in Lan Khao district has become a typical example that testifies to Mr. Xi Jinping’s ambition to push forward

However, at the edge of the model village, a completely different picture appears.

This contrast shows that the efforts of the central government to distribute the fruits of economic development to all levels of society are not easy.

Fears of ‘bubble economy’

Successfully repelling poverty is considered a determining factor in the influence of the Chinese Communist Party.

`If the problem of income inequality in society is not resolved, the party’s reputation will be greatly affected. When class differences and the gap between rich and poor become increasingly large, it will become a time bomb in the future.`

Since it began reform and opening up nearly 40 years ago, China has reduced the number of poor people from 775 million in 1980 to 43 million in 2016. Beijing also aims to have no one living in poverty by the end of 2016.

This is also the promise of Mr. Xi Jinping during his swearing-in ceremony two years ago.

Efforts to reduce poverty in China over the past decades are largely thanks to miraculous economic development, with the main driving force being policies that prioritize labor-intensive manufacturing industries.

However, the growth rate of the world’s second largest economy is showing signs of slowing down, making the work of poverty eradication more difficult.

In 2016, there were still more than 43.3 million Chinese people in rural areas, most of whom were no longer able to work, living in extreme poverty with an annual income of less than 2,300 yuan ($346), according to figures.

Three years after Mr. Xi’s visit, the Lan Khao district government brought the poverty rate down to 2% from 12% and helped the district become the second locality in the country to escape the list of 600 poverty-stricken regions in the country.

According to district leaders, it was central government subsidies and small loans with low interest rates that led to this success.

President Xi Jinping’s direct support is also one of the important reasons that helped more than 760,000 people in Lan Khao escape poverty.

`The President’s visit encouraged and inspired us,` said Wang Qifu, a local official.

A typical village in hunger eradication and poverty reduction bears Mr. Xi's mark

Mud road on the edge of the village in Lan Khao district, Henan province, China.

However, not everyone agrees with Mr. Wang, especially people living on the outskirts of the village.

The walls of the houses facing the street are all painted pure white, making the appearance of the village from afar extremely spacious.

`We don’t see any change here,` said an elderly farmer.

The average annual income of Lan Khao people is currently about 460 USD, still much lower than the `extreme poverty` threshold set by the World Bank at 694 USD.

Peng Biao, a 27-year-old village official, and his wife decided to open a small restaurant near the Yellow River area to meet the needs of tourist groups.

Admitting that Lan Khao has developed more than three years ago, Peng believes that if the locality does not create stable jobs for people, `this is just a bubble economy.

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