Govt helps 3 million poor people find jobs outside their villages

Despite the adverse impact of COVID-19, nearly 2.9 million poor people in 52 counties were working outside their home villages by the end of July.

The figure represented an increase of 112 percent over the same period last year and seven percentage points higher than the national average, said Li Fujun, deputy chief of the department of policies and legal regulations, State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, on Friday.

He made the remarks at the launch ceremony of a media tour of accelerated efforts in lifting the remaining impoverished counties out of poverty held in Sanhe village in Zhaojue county, Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, Sichuan province, on Friday.

The government was paying more attention to creation of jobs for the poor in the 52 counties after the COVID-19 outbreak.

"If people are unable to work for several months, those who were poor will remain poor and those who lifted themselves out of poverty would be poor again," Li said.

The government has helped the poverty-stricken people find jobs in advanced regions which needed labor and arranged vehicles to take them there.

"For those who remained in their home villages, poverty relief funds were used to pay for their jobs as cleaners, care providers for the aged and gardeners tending the plants," Li said.

He said an additional 156,000 poor people in the 52 counties have been provided access to safe water and housing, medical care and free compulsory education in the first seven months this year.

Children were entitled to nine-year free education and they were not allowed to drop out of school, he said.

Organized by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, the media tour will last for nearly one month in the 52 counties that still retain the poverty label in Sichuan and Gansu provinces, Ningxia Hui autonomous region, Guizhou and Yunnan provinces, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

The launch ceremony attended by more than 50 people from the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, CPC Sichuan provincial committee and Sichuan provincial government and media units marked the beginning of the first leg of the press coverage.

Lifting all rural residents living below the current poverty line out of poverty by 2020 is a solemn promise made by the CPC Central Committee, and it must be fulfilled on time, President Xi Jinping said.

Journalists will conduct in-depth interviews in the 52 counties, covering the efforts and achievements made in poverty alleviation, model people who have debuted in poverty alleviation, the high morale of both officials and ordinary people in deep poverty-stricken areas to win the fight against poverty, the sense of achievements and happiness of the people in poor areas and how the counties overcome the negative impact of COVID-19 in poverty alleviation, said Li Xiaojun, an information officer with the CPC Sichuan provincial committee.

The number of "impoverished counties" dropped from 832 to 52 from 2012 to 2019. The term is defined as places where poverty rates hover above 3 percent in the country's western areas or 2 percent in richer coastal regions.