Inner Mongolia's poverty alleviation makes fastest progress in history
Inner Mongolia has announced plans to lift around 200,000 people out of poverty this year. [Photo: northnews.cn]
As a major target area of the national poverty-relief campaign, Inner Mongolia in northern China has seen the fastest progress in this regard over the past five years.
CRI's Huang Yue reports, the autonomous region is celebrating its 70th anniversary later this week.
Since the last National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the impoverished population in the autonomous region has fallen from about 2 million to less than 560,000, with poverty incidence down from around 15 percent to just above 4 percent.
Benefiting from the latest government effort, each of the most poverty-ridden shepherd households in Ar Horqin Banner, has received 60 sheep valued 7,000 yuan free.
"The whole family is very happy. Why? Because we were hoping to raise sheep, but we didn't have the money. And the government has come through for us."
Local authorities have also struggled to cultivate more grasslands in this national-level poverty-stricken county, where the dry weather used to hinder the growth of plants.
Through years of efforts, roughly 67,000 hectare of desert have been turned into grasslands that can now support about 1.3 million sheep, and herdsmen become much better off.
Du Guolin from the local poverty alleviation office has participated in the project.
"We've focused on helping the grassland industry, and now the poverty alleviation fund has covered 16,000 impoverished residents in the banner."
China is striving to lift all people out of poverty by 2020.
Over the past five years, the central government has allocated 23 billion yuan for poverty alleviation in Inner Mongolia, 70 percent of which went to industries such as dairy, meat, forage grass, and tourism.
And the latest efforts are focusing on the medical care, education, and living standard of the impoverished people.
In Zhuozi County, local authorities have tried to offer free medical treatment to the impoverished.
Under their program, medicine would be directly distributed by village doctors, and patients only need to pay five percent of the cost.
Wang Misuo oversees the project.
"Medical care covers 80 percent of the cost. The government's medical aid fund will take care of another 15 percent."
And a larger program is aiming to help students from poor families across the region.
Jia Yun heads the education aid management center of the region's education department.
"This brings equal education to children from the impoverished families, which is one of the most fundamental equalities. It gives them a chance to shine, a chance to develop, so that their fate can be changed with knowledge, and they can bring their families out of poverty, and stop intergenerational poverty."
At present, there are less than 560,000 impoverished people in Inner Mongolia.
They account for less than 1 percent of the country's population in need of government assistance to shake off poverty.