By Shifu Fadda
China continues to score major successes in its poverty reduction drive. The country, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, is hoping to end poverty buy 2020.
The process of poverty alleviation has been further speeding up since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012.
China Daily, a local newspaper report that from 2013 to 2016 alone, 55.64 million people in China had been lifted out of poverty. The number is estimated to be more than 10 million in 2017, which means China has helped more than 13 million people out of poverty on average each year during the past five years.
To put into perspective the significance of 718 million people, the number is larger than the population of the European Union and Russia combined. It is more than twice the population of the United States, or 10 percent of the planet’s entire population.
For Jiang Yu, an associate researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council, the glorious achievements of China’s poverty alleviation are the best evidence of the CPC insisting on people-centeredness.
“People-centeredness” is what Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, emphasized in his keynote speech delivered at a high-level workshop on July 26.
In that speech, Xi made a major strategic judgment that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new development stage, and required the making of policies and plans that suit the needs of the epoch and meet the needs of the people. Xi emphasized that the CPC must cling to the characteristics of the development stage as well as the Chinese people’s pursuit of happy and prosperous lives.
Jiang said that people-centeredness is “a main foundation of historical materialism, an essential part of the communism theory.”
“The main logic is that human labor created all value and the people who labor created history. Therefore, the common ultimate goal of development paths should be benefiting the people.”
Jiang agreed that holding to the two principles of the characteristics of the development stage and people-centeredness is the prerequisite for pushing forward the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Some of the problems that China has faced since it adopted the market economy in the past several decades, such as industrial overcapacity, widening gaps between the rich and poor, environmental pollution and financial bubbles, can be solved more quickly and more efficiently compared with Western countries as long as the advantages of China’s socialist system are fully used to serve people-centeredness, he said.
Lyu Jia, an associate professor of Marxism studies at Tsinghua University, said: “China has been on a fast but steady rising path. The five years after the 18th Party Congress are especially amazing because they see China not only adjusting economic structure and keeping economic growth, but also implementing many key projects that benefit the people.”
These projects cover almost every aspect of Chinese people’s daily life. For example, by the end of 2016, the majority of the country’s 1.3 billion citizens have been covered by the basic medical security fund. More than 10 million families now participate in the national affordable housing project.
Lyu also said that Xi’s keynote speech, especially the two points of China having entered a new development period and the essential need for people-centeredness, point out the direction for the coming 19th Party National Congress, which will open on Wednesday.
Lyu also said people-centeredness is a key part of Xi’s theories about governance. “We must answer our own questions with our own theories,” Lyu said. “That China has entered a new development stage and the necessity of insisting on people-centeredness is the essential strategic judgments of Xi about China, and they should guide us like torches for walkers on roads.”
Zhang Xixian, a professor specializing in Party building at the Central Party School, said people-centeredness is a chief principle of all major policies of the Party with Xi as the core. “Xi is full of love for the people and the land that cultivates the people,” he said. “And he made many inspection tours to the regions that lag relatively behind in economic development. He also opened the path for targeted poverty alleviation.”
These, according to Zhang, show that people-centeredness is deeply rooted in Xi’s mind. “With Xi’s development strategy of people-centeredness, the CPC has carved people’s happiness deeply on the milestone toward realizing our Chinese Dream,” he said.