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China's extremely poor population declines to less than 15 mln

From : Xinhuanet

BEIJING, July 8, 2008 -- The number of Chinese people under extreme poverty has dropped from 250 million in 1978 to 14.79 million in 2007, according to national statistics on rural poverty observation.

The research, jointly conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics and the State Council Leading Group Office on Poverty Alleviation and Development, showed people who have enough food and clothing but were still with low income declined from 62.13 million in 2000 to 28.41 million in 2007.

At an International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC) training course here on Tuesday morning, Chinese officials and experts exchanged experiences with their counterparts from Central Asia countries on poverty alleviation, and briefed them on China's achievements in this regard.

According to the statistics, the living conditions and social development in the country's poor areas made remarkable improvements.

In 2007, 82.8 percent, 96.5 percent, 92.2 percent and 85.2 percent of the total natural villages in key counties with national special support on poverty reduction had access to highways, electricity, radio and TV programs and telephone services respectively.

About 95.3 percent of children aged from seven to 15 in these counties are studying in schools. Illiteracy rate among the work force of rural families dropped to 11.5 percent. Villages that have doctors or paramedics accounted for 75.6 percent of the total. Altogether, 73.5 percent of rural households in these counties have safe drinking water.

China's poverty reduction have contributed a lot to the global course, and China is willing to cooperate and share its experience with other countries, said IPRCC director Zhang Lei at the opening ceremony.

The number of people getting rid of poverty in China between 1990 and 2007 accounted for more than 70 percent of the global figure. The country also reached the goal set by the UN Millennium Development Goals of halving its poor population ahead of schedule.

Since its establishment in 2005, the IPRCC has provided training programs for 239 officials from 63 developing countries across the world.

The training course opened on Monday was for relevant officials from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Georgia. They will made an on-the-spot investigation of poverty reduction programs in the northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.