The Straits Times’ China correspondent Danson Cheong tells the story about China’s war against poverty from his perspective (China’s fragile victory over poverty, Nov 28).
While it helped readers know more about China’s poverty eradication, some points need to be made clear.
Mr Cheong said Beijing’s poverty line is about 12 per cent lower than the World Bank’s international standard of US$1.90 (S$2.53) a day. Income is not the single indicator for China’s poverty alleviation. Whether poor people are free from worries over food and clothing and have access to compulsory education, basic medical services and safe housing are also considered.
In 2015, an expert from the World Bank said that in purchasing power parity-adjusted terms, China’s national poverty line of 2,300 yuan (S$469) was higher than the World Bank’s US$1.90 a day line.
Over the past five years, China has made more progress in poverty eradication. Hence, judging China’s poverty line solely by the standard of US$1.90 a day is not objective.
Mr Cheong also expressed concern for the sustainability of China’s poverty eradication efforts. After needy people have shaken off poverty, the Communist Party of China (CPC) takes multi-pronged measures to consolidate the hard-won achievements and prevent them from falling back into poverty.
President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that China has accomplished its poverty alleviation target as scheduled and nearly 100 million people have been lifted out of poverty since 2012, while more work needs to be done to consolidate these achievements in the war on poverty. Fighting poverty is the long-term undertaking and mission statement of the CPC.
In reference to the mural, “For a happy life, thank the Party”, I would like to say that the CPC’s aim in poverty eradication is to give the people a better life rather than seek gratitude from the people.
However, given the enormous changes in Chinese people’s lives not only in the last 10 years but also in the past several decades, it is natural for people to express their gratitude to the party. National conditions in China and Singapore are different, but I often hear Singaporean friends thank founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew as well as the Singaporean Government for bringing them a happy life today.
To seek happiness for the Chinese people is the party’s original aspiration. Such gratitude inspires the CPC to work even harder to create a better and happier tomorrow for the Chinese people.
Minister Counsellor of Chinese Embassy in Singapore
Our reporting makes clear that along with raising incomes, China’s anti-poverty campaign also addresses other aspects including employment and access to education and healthcare.