With President Xi Jinping's statement on December 3 that the goal of absolute poverty elimination has been achieved with all remaining rural poor lifted out of poverty in China, the official seal on the achievement has been put.
The accomplishment lays a solid foundation for China to achieve its first centennial goal, that is, to enter a moderately prosperous society in all respects in 2021, the centenary of the Communist Party of China's establishment.
China has not only achieved the poverty reduction goal of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule, but has also provided experience and set an example for other developing countries to lift themselves out of poverty.
After the People's Republic of China (PRC) was founded in 1949, due to nearly a century of foreign aggression and civil war, the nation was poor and weak, and the people lived in misery. But after decades of development, indisputable progress has been made, with millions of people lifted out of poverty.
By 2013, most of the remaining poverty-stricken population in China lived in remote rural areas where the inclement natural conditions made it difficult to eradicate poverty. The government then started a comprehensive poverty alleviation campaign and in the eight years since then, many innovative and unique policies have been implemented.
They range from targeted poverty reduction and poverty alleviation through employment to relocating the poor and incorporating all the poor population in the social security system. The largest poverty alleviation campaign in human history was run in China and achieved victory.
However, the focus on improving people's wellbeing should never be relaxed. As unbalanced and inadequate development still remains a serious problem, the government needs to consolidate its achievements in poverty reduction.
Although absolute poverty has been eliminated, relative poverty remains. Work must continue on the second centennial goal, that is, by 2049, the centenary of the PRC, turning China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful.
Therefore, eradicating absolute poverty doesn't mean the end; it is a new starting point.
(Print Edition Title: A New Starting Point)