Lifting China’s elderly out of poverty

World Today

Central China’s Lankao County has been fighting poverty for decades. One of the toughest problems local officials face has to do with people over the age of 50: how to get them out of poverty. The local government is figuring out its own solutions.

CGTN’s Xia Ruixue reports.

Lifting China's elderly out of poverty

Lifting China's elderly out of poverty

Central China's Lankao County has been fighting poverty for decades. One of the toughest problems local officials face has to do with people over the age of 50: how to get them out of poverty. The local government is figuring out its own solutions. CGTN's Xia Ruixue reports.

Two years ago, 61-year-old Hao Jingang was still the poorest guy in Fulou village, Lankao County. His family lived only on the corn they grew on their land. Their annual earnings came to no more than 2,000 yuan.

“We could only afford to eat meat once a year,” said Hao. “My two daughters often cried in the winter night when they felt cold in a thin quilt.”

While Hao despaired over his life, Lankao County began adopting targeted poverty relief measures in 2014. The local authority dispatched officials to his home. They taught him how to raise rabbits and pigs, and gave him a sum of money to invest in his rabbit business.

“Last year, I earned more than 10,000 yuan. Six-thousand was from the rabbit business. Other money came from subsidies from the local government.”

The government helped renovate Hao’s house last year. And now he’s got new furniture, a fridge and a computer. His daughters are no longer too shy to talk to their classmates.

In Fulou village, it’s difficult for impoverished people over 50 years old to find jobs in bigger cities. Lifting these people out of poverty is a huge challenge.

Guo Jie, a poverty alleviation official, says those who are over 50 are the most difficult to help.

“They don’t have much educational background or vocational skills. So we help them based on their situations,” said Guo. “Some are introduced to nearby companies. Some get trained to start their own business.”

China plans to lift all of its poor out of poverty by 2020, especially those who live in the nation’s 128,000 poor villages and 832 poor counties, where poverty has become a regional issue. It is believed that precise, targeted and differentiated measures will help reach the final goal.