Xi Jinping puts personal stamp on China’s fight against poverty
President Xi Jinping led a ceremony highlighting Beijing’s efforts to end extreme poverty, the Chinese leader’s latest push to use the historic achievement to consolidate power before his second term ends next year.
Xi handed out awards to individuals involved in the campaign Thursday and was expected to give a speech touting China’s progress in its fight to end poverty. The event at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing was televised live to the nation of 1.4 billion people by state media.
Xi has made fighting poverty one of his main goals since becoming leader of the ruling Communist Party in late 2012. The party is expected to soon declare victory in building a “moderately prosperous” society, which would elevate living standards and bolster its legitimacy.
Xi was the focus of a similar event in September last year in which he hailed China’s success in handling the coronavirus outbreak. Xi’s second term as party chief is set to expire next year, but he’s widely expected to stay on in that role after amending the constitution in 2018 to allow him to also remain in the position of president for a third term.
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The People’s Daily, the party’s official mouthpiece, ran a three-page, 22,000-character article Wednesday summarizing the poverty-alleviation orders Xi has issued since taking power. His efforts “achieved great success and made a great contribution to global progress,” the newspaper said.
China last year raised its official poverty line to people earning 4,000 yuan ($620) a year, up from 2,625 yuan in 2012, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. While that is higher than the World Bank’s absolute poverty line, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development defines anyone with income less than half the median as being poor.
Using that standard, people in rural areas would need to earn above 7,500 yuan a year in China to escape poverty.