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Why China's Communist Party isn't celebrating a major poverty milestone

November 28, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Chinese President Xi Jinping reached a major milestone this week in his five-year long fight to end absolute poverty across the country -- but it doesn't appear that he's celebrating yet.

China was for decades one of the world's most impoverished countries and ending absolute poverty has been an important policy goal for Xi. The Chinese leader pledged to meet his target by the end of 2020, and establish a "moderately prosperous society" ahead of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in July next year.

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.

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.

State-run newspaper China Daily said that since the poverty alleviation program began, 4. 2 million kilometers (2. 6 million miles) of road had been laid in rural China, opening access for not only tourists but businesses and farmers.

According to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, Xi said during a visit to Hunan province in September that ending absolute poverty was only the beginning of a new fight to improve people's lives.

Marchisio said that Beijing firstly needed to ensure that its poverty alleviation successes could be maintained once the Chinese government stopped investing huge sums of public money in rural areas.

Poverty expert Donaldson said that he hoped the Chinese government would now raise the poverty line higher and announce its aim to further increase the livelihood of its people -- but the political messaging of an "end to poverty" had made that hard.

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