‘Human miracle’ claims by China in stamping out extreme poverty questioned

‘Human miracle’ claims by China in stamping out extreme poverty questioned

Sourced from the web by Tracy Cabrera

File photo shows people wearing face masks while chatting  and watching a film at Poly Cinema in Beijing on Thursday, February 25, 2021. With coronavirus well under control in China and cinemas running at half capacity, moviegoers are smashing China’s box office records, setting a new high mark for ticket sales in February, with domestic productions far outpacing their Hollywood competitors. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING, CHINA — Chinese President Xi Jinping has declared that his country has achieved the “human miracle” of eliminating extreme poverty although critics continue to question Beijing’s criteria for making the claim.

In a glitzy ceremony in Beijing, Xi bestowed medals on officials from rural communities, some wearing traditional ethnic-minority attire and promised to share this “Chinese example” with other developing nations.

“No other country can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in such a short time,” Xi pointed out with pride.

“A human miracle has been created that will go down in history,” the leader of more than 1.398 billion added.

China last year claimed it had achieved its long-trumpeted goal of lifting all of its people above a poverty line of US$2.30 in daily income.

That is slightly above the World Bank’s lowest threshold of $1.90, but below what is recommended for higher-income countries.

The World Bank says China has lifted more than 800 million people out of extreme poverty since turning to market reforms in the 1970s, after decades of state planning and ill-advised Maoist campaigns that had stifled the economy.

China is now “providing help to developing countries” still struggling with poverty, Xi said.

In 2015, Xi vowed to eradicate extreme poverty by 2020, a pillar of the Communist Party’s goal to build a “moderately prosperous society” by the 100th anniversary of its founding later this year.

Ahead of the deadline, the government poured billions of yuan into infrastructure like roads and modern apartment buildings, and offered tax incentives and subsidies to impoverished rural communities.

The standard of living in China has indeed changed dramatically since the 1970s, with hundreds of millions living consumer lifestyles that past generations could not have imagined.

But Beijing’s claims have met with skepticism as critics have pointed to the relatively low poverty line, claims of corruption cases linked to poverty funds, and perennial questions over whether official data is massaged to meet party political objectives. (AI/MTVN)

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