- China’s breathtaking economic ascent has helped hundreds of millions lift themselves from poverty since the 1980s but in 2016 at least 5.7% of its rural population still lived in poverty, according to a recent UN report, with that number rising to as much as 10% in some western regions and 12% among some ethnic minorities.
A recent propaganda report claimed hitting the 2020 target would represent “a step against poverty unprecedented in human history”. In his annual New Year address to the nation last week Xi made a “solemn pledge” to win his war on want. “Once made, a promise is as weighty as a thousand ounces of gold,” he said.
The current wave of anti-poverty relocations - a total 9.81 million people are set to be moved between 2016 and 2020 - are taking place across virtually the whole country, in 22 provinces. However, China’s western fringes, which still lag behind the prosperous east coast, are a particular focus.