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Chongqing sets target to tackle poverty

26 October 2011
Chongqing Mayor Huang Qifan has vowed to lift half of the municipality’s 18 poorest counties out of poverty by 2015. At a government meeting on 24 October, he called on local officials to make concrete progress in tackling the poverty problem.

China’s poverty line currently stands at Rmb1,500 a year, very low compared with international standards. This keeps the official number of people in poverty artificially low.

Mayor Huang was angry that the 18 counties, identified as early as 1997 when Chongqing became a municipality, still remained poor today. He said the government will look at ways to encourage county officials to work hard at raising living standards rather than relying on government handouts. Fuling, which is situated on the Yangtze, is set to be among the first two to be lifted out of poverty by 2012. A target of 2014 has been set set for Wanzhou, another county on the Yangtze trunkline that has been affected by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam.

Chongqing reported an increase of 16.7 per cent in GDP to Rmb700.373bn for the first nine months of 2011, the biggest increase in the country. Disposable income for the average urban dweller jumped by 15.1 per cent to Rmb15,097.

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