The history of human development is one of unremitting struggle against poverty. According to various standards, there are still hundreds of millions of people living in poverty, including in extreme poverty, in the world today. When it comes to poverty governance, different countries are constantly exploring structures, processes, mechanisms and strategies that suit their own national conditions and development practices. However, the anti-poverty effectiveness differs.
In particular, the world is facing major changes of historical magnitude. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionately negative impact on vulnerable groups. Given its complexity, global poverty governance has become a narrative that carries various nuances that forbid easy explanations.
China has won an all-round victory in the battle against poverty, completing the arduous task of eradicating extreme poverty, which can be viewed as a watershed in global anti-poverty history. China’s poverty reduction narrative continues to arouse widespread attention from the international community.
In early April, China released a white paper entitled, “Poverty Alleviation: China’s Experience and Contribution.” Many experts and scholars around the world said that impressive achievements and experience of China’s poverty alleviation listed in the white paper have resonated strongly with themselves. Political parties, governments, non-state activists and ordinary people who participated in the poverty alleviation campaign around the world also gave positive feedback.
China’s poverty governance practice provides Chinese wisdom and solutions to global poverty governance. As such, China’s poverty alleviation narrative has further won the hearts of the people.
We embarked on a path of poverty reduction with “Chinese characteristics” and formed an anti-poverty theory with Chinese characteristics. As stated in the white paper, the valuable experience China has explored in the practice of poverty alleviation has enlightened anti-poverty thinking worldwide. It provides lessons that other countries can draw when it comes to their own poverty reduction and development strategies.
Take poverty alleviation by social assistance as an example. The social assistance system aims to help poor families and disadvantaged groups cope with long-term poverty and survival difficulties. Beneficiaries generally get welfare without paying fees. With the improvement of China’s social assistance system, anti-poverty policies have undergone a transition from relief-based to development-based, and then a combination of both. The social assistance system will continue to play a protective role in implementing the new development concept and promoting high-quality development in the new era.
Another case in point is poverty alleviation by employment. In China, policy entrepreneurs collaborate to provide a batch of work incentives for targeted groups of people. The policy measures are firstly considered uniquely adaptable to local conditions. But many, with subtle variants, are both replicable and sustainable, such as poverty alleviation workshops, transfer of labor services, public job support and specific vocational training. By integrating effective government and efficient markets, these employment-generating programs guide and cultivate less developed areas. They allow people to enhance endogenous motivations and self-development capabilities.
Only by adhering to and implementing the people-centered development philosophy, can China truly achieve the goal of poverty alleviation. The same is true by taking poverty eradication as the national will, strategy and action.
China actively participates in global poverty governance. It continuously deepens exchanges and cooperation in the field of poverty alleviation with both developed and developing counterparts. It is expected that there would appear to be a new type of international cooperation on poverty reduction. This involves mutual respect and win-win situations as fundamental principles.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). In the first half of this year, the CPC Central Committee will officially declare that China has built a moderately prosperous society in all respects. The spirit of poverty alleviation will therefore promote the implementation of the rural revitalization strategy in the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25). This will further contribute to the modernization of national governance systems and capacity.
We believe that China’s development experience will further empower global poverty governance. This will advance the joint construction of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative. It will ultimately promote the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind.
The author is an assistant professor at Central Compilation and Translation Bureau.