A Path to a Better Life

More than 20 years ago, I visited a remote mountainous village in my hometown Shandong province. I felt heartbroken when I learned that some children there had to drop out of school due to poverty, and I can never forget the great joy in their eyes when they received only some pencils and notebooks as gifts.

Today, the village has totally taken on a new outlook. Mud-brick houses are replaced by modern buildings. Students study in clean and roomy classrooms wearing brand new uniforms. When I see them, I feel the vitality and hope for a better future.

Such changes are taking place everywhere in China during the fight against poverty led by the Communist Party of China (CPC). Since the reform and opening up over 40 years ago, more than 770 million of China's rural population have been lifted from poverty, accounting for more than 70 percent of the global total over the same period. In February this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared a "complete victory" in the fight against poverty, and that China has accomplished the arduous task of eliminating extreme poverty.

How can China achieve such a miracle? In my view, it is because we have found a path of poverty alleviation that suits China’s national conditions.

It is a path where we put people at the center. The CPC always regards as its goal the people’s aspirations to live a better life. It is our solemn commitment to the people and history that no one will be left behind on the march to a moderately prosperous society. Over 3 million party officials have been assigned to rural villages to fight on the front line of poverty alleviation. Countless college-graduate village officials and volunteer teachers have dedicated their best years of youth to the development of rural areas. More than 1,800 Party members and officials have lost their lives in this cause, fulfilling their mission and their pledge to the people.

It is a path where unity forms synergy. Leveraging the strength of its socialist system, the ability to pool resources on major endeavors, China has mobilized forces from all quarters to participate in poverty alleviation. China has strengthened collaboration and paired assistance between the richer eastern and poorer western regions to encourage the flow of talent, capital, and technology to poor areas.

For example, Shanghai has been paired with Yunnan, a southwest province. Up to last year, Shanghai has allocated 13.4 billion RMB as assistance funds, helped built 10600 projects and trained nearly 600 thousand personnel, providing strong support to the poverty alleviation efforts of Yunnan province.

It is a path based on reality. China's poverty alleviation efforts are based on a realistic appraisal of the locality. Measures such as technology innovation and development of tourism explore new sources for economic growth while achieving green and sustainable development. We encourage people to strive for prosperity with their own efforts. Through education, the key to poverty alleviation, every child has the opportunity to realize their full potential. Just as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said to the students in a mountains area that even though your school is surrounded by mountains, if you study hard and reach higher, the mountains could never limit your vision.

China’s cause of poverty alleviation contributes to the development of the world. As the largest developing country, China achieved the poverty alleviation goal set on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. This has greatly accelerated global poverty alleviation and provided Chinese wisdom and experience to the world.

China has taken an active part in global poverty management, strengthened exchanges and cooperation with other countries and supported developing countries in poverty alleviation. Through the Belt and Road Initiative, China has shared the benefits of its development with the rest of the world.

Looking ahead, China stands ready to work with all countries, including Malta, to jointly promote economic recovery in a post-COVID-19 world and build a community of shared future for mankind that is free from poverty.

While absolute poverty, which has haunted the Chinese nation for thousands of years, is now a thing of the past, the Chinese people’s pursuit of a better life is never-ending. The journey will not be smooth, but we will keep forging ahead in unity, on the path toward the goal of common prosperity for all.


This article was published in the Times of Malta on 27th May, 2021.

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