A Complete Victory over Poverty

Updated: 2021-05-21 (Xinhua) Print

Tibet was a contiguous poor area with the highest incidence and most severe level of poverty, where the cost of poverty eradication was highest and the difficulty greatest. Ending poverty in Tibet is a consistent policy of the Central People's Government.

As early as 1951, after the liberation of Tibet, the PLA and other organizations in Tibet were already taking action to reduce poverty.

In 1959 after feudal serfdom was abolished and Tibet embarked on the path of socialism, the CPC set about developing the productive forces, eliminating exploitation and poverty, achieving common prosperity, growing the economy, and improving people's lives.

After the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the Party convened the National Conference on Better Poverty Alleviation Partnership Assistance from Other Parts of the Country to Tibet for five successive years, and launched a campaign under which SOEs directly under the central government would assist Tibet in achieving prosperity. Through targeted poverty alleviation policies and measures, Tibet has won a decisive victory over poverty, and local people of all ethnic groups now have adequate food and clothing and access to compulsory education, basic medical services and safe housing.

By the end of 2019, all the 628,000 registered poor and 74 designated poor counties in Tibet had risen from poverty, marking the end of absolute poverty in Tibet for the first time in history. The average annual per capita disposable income of those who have just emerged from poverty now exceeds RMB10,000, an indication that the positive results of poverty elimination have been consolidated.

It was the democratic reform in Tibet that led to leapfrog progress in its social system, and the fight against poverty secured historic improvements in its ways of life.

– Eliminating absolute poverty

Tibet has made great efforts to develop industries that leverage local strengths, to find the right path for economic growth.It has been vigorously developing and promoting highland barley strains such as Zangqing 2000, Ximala 22, and livestock breeds such as Pagri yak, Riwoqe yak, and Gamba sheep, to raise the per unit yield.

Tibet has been supporting deep processing, improving product supply, and expanding industrial chains. In 2020, there were 162 leading agriculture and animal husbandry enterprises, with a total processing output value of RMB5.7 billion. This was double the figure for 2015.

Tibet has been increasing the level of specialization in production and boosting production efficiency through cooperation between cooperatives and rural households, and among leading enterprises, village-level collective economic organizations and rural households. The comprehensive mechanization rate for growing staple crops has reached 65 percent.

Tibet has been alleviating poverty by developing e-commerce programs targeted at the entire rural community to improve the marketing of local specialties. A total of RMB879 million from the state budget was allocated to promote the online sales of agro-products, boost incomes and employment, and reduce poverty in Tibet.

Tibet has been fully engaged in developing tourism, launching programs such as "Tibetan Cultural Tour", "G318 Self-drive Tour" for the 2018 Around China Self-driving Tour Championship (ACSC), and "Winter Tour in Tibet". By 2020, rural tourism had created, directly or indirectly, 86,000 jobs for local farmers and herdsmen, resulting in an increment in annual per capita income of RMB4,300.

Tibet has been developing its cultural industry by expanding the market for traditional Tibetan culture. Thangka, sculpting, textiles, costumes, home decoration and other handicrafts have grown into emerging industries, huge in both supply and demand. Cultural industry demonstration parks/centers at all levels and in all categories have been completed, creating a total output value of more than RMB6 billion at an average annual growth rate of 15 percent.

Since 2016, Tibet has applied agricultural funds totaling RMB75.4 billion to poverty alleviation and implemented 3,037 programs supporting local businesses, which has helped 238,000 registered poor out of poverty. It has issued subsidized loans of RMB64.8 billion and micro-credit loans of RMB6.33 billion, providing strong support for the development of local industries.

Efforts have been made to renovate dilapidated rural homes to ensure safe housing. Since 2008, a total of RMB3.62 billion has been applied to 399,700 households in Tibet for the renovation of dilapidated homes, covering registered poor households, households entitled to subsistence allowances, severely impoverished rural residents cared for at their homes with government support, and impoverished families of individuals with disabilities. The project has enabled them to abandon rammed-earth dwellings and stone shacks, and presented them with bright and spacious housing. The widowed, orphaned and childless in extreme poverty are eligible for rural public rental housing, or vacant public housing that has been renovated, to guarantee their access to safe housing. All these measures have laid a solid foundation for Tibet to beat poverty and achieve moderate prosperity.

Tibet has relocated the impoverished to improve their living and working conditions.Poverty-stricken populations in Tibet are concentrated in the northern pastoral areas, the southern border areas, and the eastern areas along the Hengduan Mountains. All these areas are located at high altitudes. They are remote from vital markets and live in harsh conditions. Therefore, relocating the inhabitants of these areas is a rational solution to lift them out of poverty. Since 2016, Tibet has increased efforts to resettle the impoverished from inhospitable areas to places with better economic prospects. By 2020, Tibet had completed the construction of 964 relocation zones/sites for poverty alleviation in low-altitude, hospitable areas, where 266,000 poor were happy to resettle. Some five percent of Tibet's growth-driven poverty alleviation funds were applied to the development of industries and businesses at relocation sites, and at least one individual from each resettled household was guaranteed employment. This was a significant primary step ensuring steady progress toward a prosperous life.

Tibet has implemented policies to sustain poverty elimination through the endogenous initiatives of the poor themselves by increasing their confidence and helping them acquire knowledge and skills.Tibet's education funds are directed more to basic education and vocational education in poor areas to improve conditions there. Tibet has established a student financial assistance system covering all stages of education from preschool to higher education, covering both private and public education, and covering all students experiencing economic difficulties, supported by 40 financial assistance policies. The Three Guarantees policy for education in Tibet – providing food, accommodation and school expenses for preschool to senior high students from farming and herding households and impoverished urban families – has resulted in a rise in subsidy to an average of RMB4,200 per student per year; dropouts from registered poor families are all identified and helped back into school in a timely manner.

Tibet has encouraged institutions of higher learning to recruit students from its farming and pastoral areas and poverty-stricken areas through special programs. Tibet has implemented the Three Cost-frees and One Subsidy policy, under which college students from registered poor households and rural families entitled to subsistence allowances are exempt from tuition, textbook and accommodation fees and are provided with cost-of-living subsidies. Altogether 46,700 impoverished undergraduates received assistance from this policy during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020). Based on market demand and personal choice, poor populations in Tibet are provided with vocational and technical education covering constructional engineering, service, food processing, vehicle repair and maintenance, nursing, and handicrafts, to help them obtain stable jobs with higher payments.

Tibet has improved social security by providing subsistence allowances for the impoverished.All the 114,000 registered poor in Tibet are provided with subsistence allowances. Currently, the standards are RMB10,164 per person per year for urban residents, RMB4,713 for rural residents, RMB7,070 for severely impoverished rural residents cared for at their homes with government support, and RMB13,213 for severely impoverished urban and rural residents cared for at nursing homes with government support. The standard for temporary social relief has been raised to RMB4,334 on average. In all its 74 national-level poor counties, Tibet has implemented the national nutrition improvement program for children in impoverished areas, targeted at 6 to 24-month-olds.

Tibet has implemented the project of "Laying the Foundations for Better Lives", through innovative paired-up assistance for the impoverished.From 2012 to 2020, Tibet dispatched 193,300 resident officials in nine groups to help alleviate poverty in villages. Officials at all levels in Tibet were paired up with registered poor households in all designated poor villages, townships and counties, to offer one-to-one employment assistance to the relocated poor and college graduates from impoverished families, and to help boost the economy in poverty-stricken areas.

– Developing border areas and improving people's lives

Tibet has a 4,000-km long external border line. The inhabitants of the contiguous areas experience harsh living and working conditions and a high incidence of poverty. Governments at all levels have been making constant efforts to develop border areas and improve people's lives. Under the guidance of the Party Central Committee, financial input has been increasing year by year for border development in Tibet. Particularly since 2012, border villages, townships and counties in Tibet have been granted more preferential state policies on infrastructure construction, covering water, electricity, roads, and housing. In 2017, the Plan of Tibet Autonomous Region on the Construction of Villages of Moderate Prosperity in Border Areas (2017-2020) was released, designed to ensure better access to housing, water, electricity, roads, communications and the internet, to improve education, technology, culture, healthcare and social security in border villages, and to boost industries in border areas. By the end of 2020, first-tier and second-tier border villages had access to highways, all border townships and towns were connected to the main power grid, and all border villages had access to postal services, mobile communications, and safe drinking water. Through all these efforts in the border areas in Tibet, infrastructure has seen remarkable improvements, all industries are flourishing, and the people enjoy better living and working conditions.

– Revitalizing the countryside

In 2017, China proposed the strategy of rural revitalization. Accordingly, the Strategic Plan of Tibet Autonomous Region on Rural Revitalization (2018-2022) was formulated, to build rural areas with thriving businesses, an eco-friendly environment, social etiquette and civility, effective governance, and a prosperous rural population, making sure that the positive results in poverty elimination are consolidated and become an integral part of rural revitalization in Tibet. The plan focuses on:

• developing plateau biotechnology, tourism, green industry, clean energy, modern services, advanced digital technology, and border trade and logistics;

• improving talent training in farming and pastoral areas, scaling up the training of native professionals, establishing a complete training system for farmers and herdsmen, and attracting talent toward rural development;

• promoting civilized village rules, improving public cultural services, encouraging literary and artistic works on agriculture, rural areas and rural people, carrying forward the best of traditional Tibetan culture, strengthening the competence of rural cultural workers, nurturing healthy folk customs, cultivating fine family traditions, and encouraging virtues in individuals;

• protecting and restoring the rural eco-system, improving rural living environments, developing eco-friendly rural industries, and building institutional mechanisms for promoting rural eco-environmental progress, so as to keep Tibet's eco-environment at the highest national level, and turn its farming and pastoral areas into a beautiful, hospitable countryside where the people live in harmony with nature.