“National Priorities” has recently become a trending phrase in China. I had always pondered how to overcome the barriers of language and culture and to express this sentiment to my Canadian friends. Not long ago, while wandering in Beijing, I passed by a government agency in China – the National Rural Revitalization Administration, which explained the inspiration behind this phrase. This Administration was established in early 2021, with its predecessor the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, as the name indicates, aiming to alleviate national poverty. Following China’s victory over poverty, the National Rural Revitalization Administration is entrusted to transition from poverty alleviation to focus more on economic vitalization of rural areas.
Just like Canada, China is a massive agricultural nation. Based on the 2021 National Census in China, a total of 510 million people (36.11% of the population) reside in rural areas. The Chinese Government has consistently devoted great attention to the economic development of the countryside, in recent years, amelioration of the conditions in rural areas has been the focus of the war against poverty in China.
It is the pledge of the Communist Party of China to the Chinese people to achieve a total alleviation of poverty with no one left behind and to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects where no one is precluded.
That is a big goal, but it is a worthwhile endeavour. In order to achieve total alleviation of poverty, over the last 9 years China has invested over RMB 1.6 trillion toward poverty relief, and issued over RMB 9.2 trillion in poverty alleviation loans. More than 5 million members of the Communist Party of China had dedicated their time and energy on the front line of poverty alleviation across China, and over 1,800 of them sacrificed their lives.
In 2021, China achieved a momentous victory, reaching a major milestone in the mission to eliminate poverty. All 98.99 million rural people living in poverty under the current standard were lifted out of poverty. We have achieved the poverty reduction target of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. This marks a significant milestone, some might call it an economic miracle, in the annals of history. It is a story that moved the hearts of countless people.
Shiba Dong Village of Hunan Province is a village of the Miao ethnic group, located in the Wuling Mountains. The inhabitants there have lived in poverty for as long as anyone can remember. In 2013, the average per capita disposable income was a mere RMB 1,668. Following the construction of basic infrastructure that provided water, electricity and road, Shiba Dong Village has transformed into a renowned scenic area that is now a favourite destination for tourists. The gorgeous mountains and rivers enlivened by the characteristic Miao culture have contributed to the booming development of the tourism sector, with thousands of travellers visiting daily. By 2020 the average income of the villagers had already reached RMB 18,369. The story of Shiba Dong Village is the epitome of China’s work to alleviate poverty and develop rural areas.
In recent years the development of China’s agricultural regions has been rapid, with basic infrastructure gradually reaching optimal levels. The basis for this infrastructure development is founded on a five-pronged approach of ensuring that every rural community has access to roads, electricity and water, public transportation, courier services, and internet. These projects have greatly benefited rural communities, and are financed by the government. Following its victory in the war against poverty, China is now directing its efforts towards promoting rural development and accelerating the modernization of agricultural regions. For the numerous citizens in agricultural regions, this is paramount for overall quality of living. The Communist Party of China places quality of life for the people above all else – this is a national priority.
The Communist Party of China has always adhered to the original aspiration of seeking happiness for the people, aiming to make life better for everyone across the country. The interests of the majority of the people are a priority for China, ensuring quality of life is protected and enhanced with each passing day. The success or failure of this original aspiration is evaluated based on whether the people support, whether the people approve of, and whether the people align with the work of the government. This is the underlying logic and secret of success behind the Communist Party of China’s robust and continuous development since its founding 101 years ago. This is also the primary reason why each year the Communist Party of China enjoys an approval rating of over 90% from the Chinese people, according to authoritative reports issued by western institutions such as Harvard Kennedy School.
While China is now the world’s second largest economy, the challenges of low per capita income as well as unbalanced and insufficient development are still prominent. The Communist Party of China’s focus on national priority is based upon the conviction that a higher standard of living for China’s populous is critical, that it must continue to tirelessly promote socioeconomic development, and aspire to meet the needs of a people that yearn for a better, more prosperous life. At the same time, China wishes to continue to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation with every nation of the world, including Canada, and realize shared success around the globe.