Tag Archives: China

Can China win the fight against poverty?

By Naanga | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-06-05 14:03

A young man in old, graying clothes sits, surrounded by the bustle of Beijing’s central business district, with its towering skyscrapers and opulent hotel lobbies. As formally dressed business people rush by, he sits quietly on a staircase, practices Chinese characters. They pay no attention to him or his dirty bare feet, the calloused soles of which mark him as homeless. He doesn’t seek attention — no begging cup before him — instead, he collects recyclable plastic bottles to make ends meet. He lives on less than $2 per day. A canvas bag full of empty plastic bottles and winter clothes sits behind him; his worldly possessions and income can be carried over his shoulder.

 

His life on the street begins before sunrise, in order to transcribe Buddhist sutras for the whole day. It is apparent he is unschooled when you see his handwriting. As the sun sets and busy white-collar workers are replaced by revelers on a night out, he goes to sleep in a small garden in front of a luxurious hotel. Whether in the heat of summer or the cold of winter, he has done the same things over and over again, for the last four years — ever since he discovered Buddhism.

Fang Shixiong, a homeless man, rewrites the Buddhist sutra on the street of Beijing. 

His name is Fang Shixiong, and his early life in Jilin province was tough. At the age of 5 he was left to fend for himself when his parents passed away. Now 23, he has been homeless for 18 years. A loyal theist, he is one of 30 million people still living under the poverty line. He nervously muttered as he told me his story, often repeating the phrase: “What is happening here?” But when I mentioned Xi Jinping, his eyes began to sparkle, and he started answering my questions with sentences rather than words.

“Recently, I have registered as a citizen. Once I have an official ID, I will be allowed to work as a manual laborer. But the procedure will take time, nearly two years,” Fang said.

Despite the fact poverty in China has reached its lowest level in the last four decades — with a total below 30 million — that number still roughly equals the entire population of Afghanistan. Chinese President Xi Jinping said China aims to win the battle against poverty by 2020. His speech from the podium at the CPC National Congress had even reached Fang Shixiong, giving him hope for a change in his situation.

As Fang shared his story of life on the streets of the capital, hundreds of people were being pulled out of poverty 660 kilometers away in Lankao, a poster county for poverty alleviation. One of the people there is Yan Chunguang, a 31-year-old father of two who lives with his wife and 89-year-old grandmother in a Chinese-style courtyard dwelling. Yan was lucky enough to meet president Xi Jinping during his visit in 2014. A large photo of Xi, taken during his visit, hangs outside the front door for all to see, and also in the living room. He is frequently visited by travelers to Lankao, who wish to learn about the town’s success story.

Yan Chunguang, a chicken farmer, stands with his grandmother Zhang Jingzhi in front of their photo with President Xi Jinping.

“When General Secretary Xi Jinping visited my family, there was not so much to worry about. We used to have only a thousand chickens, and now that we’ve climbed out of poverty, we have reached 10 thousand chickens,” said Yan, a self-employed chicken farmer.

Thanks to local government support, his income rose fivefold over the last four years, and medical insurance has lightened the pressure of health care costs resulting from his grandmother’s hearing loss. His story is only one example of the 68 million people who have been lifted out of poverty in the last five years — as many as the entire population of France.

One in four Chinese counties, 592 in total, are classified as impoverished on the national list. A county can be removed from the list if less than 2 to 3 percent of its population lives below the poverty line, defined as a per-capita annual income of 3,200 yuan at 2017 prices, according to the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development. Since China started shortening its list of impoverished counties in 2017, more than 200 counties have made it off the list. Lankao announced its removal from the poverty list in March 2017, the second county to do so after Jinggangshan.

Anti-poverty official Xia Gengsheng explained to Xinhua news agency removal from the list does not mean poverty relief efforts will fade away. Subsidies and financial support will continue to ensure stable development of former impoverished areas during the transition period.

In Lankao, the municipal government’s poverty alleviation strategies aim to diversify local people’s income sources and reduce dependence on agriculture. Over the last five years, fixed asset investment and local government revenue doubled to 19.8 and 1.7 billion yuan respectively. Local banks had already issued a total of 357 million yuan in financial support, including interest-free loans and micro-loans.

Moreover Everbright Environmental Energy (Lankao) Limited, a subsidiary of Everbright International, started its operation of the first county-level waste-to-energy plant with a total investment of 310 million yuan at the end of 2017. Dingfeng Muye, an Everbright supplier, also opened its fifth wooden chip plant in Lankao.

The county is breathing the air of prosperity, with newly opened Starbucks, Adidas and Louis Vuitton stores on the city’s main street. Coincidentally, construction cranes stand on almost every corner, and demolished buildings lay waiting to be rebuilt — an obvious mark of economic growth in Lankao.

A year after Lankao announced its withdrawal from the national list of impoverished counties, half of the migrant workers — who had moved away to find better jobs — returned to their hometown, according to local authorities.

More than a hundred thousand people have been successfully lifted out of poverty in Lankao during the last three years. However, nearly 10,000 people remain below the poverty line. Other longstanding factors in Lankao’s entrenched poverty remain, for instance environmental problems which have long affected Lankao’s agricultural output. An elderly Lankao resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said her harvest this year ended up wasted because it didn’t meet the Henan government’s requirements for sale.

“Thirty percent of the people living under poverty in Lankao are mainly disabled, elderly or adult orphans,” said Li Mingjun, head of Lankao county.

In the battle against poverty, China has had remarkable success. When China launched its reform and opening-up policy in the late 1970s, half the population was living in poverty. Today, it’s less than two percent. China has set a goal of lifting 10 million people out of poverty every year from 2016, with the goal of eradicating poverty entirely among the rural population by 2020. For Fang Shixiong and people like him, the hope of one day getting off the street is what inspires them to keep up the fight.

The author is a postgraduate student of global business journalism at the School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University.

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Landlocked Mongolia welcomed by Caofeidian to turn into land-linked

CAOFEIDIAN, April 30 [MONTSAME] – The port of Caofeidian (曹妃甸), once claimed as a ghost city in northern China, is on the way to become an international hub to take advantages of the “Belt and Road” initiative to connect between Central Asia and Europe by its superior geographical location. On April 26, Caofeidian  industrial zone’s promotion conference was attracted nearly 400 merchants, investors and local authorities from China, Mongolia, Japan and South Africa at Hebei province.

Continue reading Landlocked Mongolia welcomed by Caofeidian to turn into land-linked

Xi, Putin and Battulga meet in June, Qingdao

BEIJING(Naanga) —  China and Mongolia agreed to integrate the Belt and Road Initiative and Mongolia’s Development Road (formerly Prairie Road) program, according to the Xinhua Agency’s report.

China will take advantage of the essential opportunities brought by the linking of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Mongolia’s Development Road initiative to expand cooperation in various fields and people-to-people exchange, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday(Apr 10).

Continue reading Xi, Putin and Battulga meet in June, Qingdao

China’s housing prices faces slowdown

Beijing — China’s house prices rose for a 29th straight month in February, but the pace of growth slows because of the government purchasing restriction. On a yearly basis, home prices of China’s the ‘tier one’ including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou — keep falling, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Shenzhen’s home price growth had the biggest year-on-year decline because of the high cost of building construction, mainly the land price factor.

The property curbs also reflects on second-hand home prices, China’s capital city fall most for 10 consecutive months by 4.6 percent from a year earlier. Second-hand home transactions accounted for almost five times the new-home sales in 2017, according to the Beijing municipal statistics. In Guilin, China’s most famous southern tourist destination, had the most stable housing prices, previously owned home sold as the almost same level of 2015.

Concerning the used home market, the price is still expected to decline in 2018 because of the lack of potential buyers who can meet high loan and more down payment, said Hu Jinghui, vice president of 5i5j – a major housing agency in Beijing at China Daily.  China’s housing market has entered into a sideways consolidation period after it experienced a fast-growing cycle, with high prices and high sales volume, said Shui Pi, editor-in-chief of China Times.

Beside this, a nationwide registry system is expected to be effective in 2018. Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie lately indicated that property tax legislation will be  take place in March, 2019, followed by nationwide taxation, the Global Times reported in early of March, 2018. The real estate sector accounts for one-third of China’s GDP, according to Fortune.

Student start-ups inspired to enter the driverless car market

Beijing, China — On a rainy day in the mid-of November in Hubei province, China, racing cars were running on the Xiangyang Dream Formula track. The strange thing was the cars had no drivers behind the wheel. Instead of sitting behind the steering wheel, drivers were standing not too far behind the start line. Actually, they are engineering students of the Chinese universities who were participating the 2017 Formula Student China sponsored by Aiways. Seven teams brought driverless cars to the Formula Student China competition. The Organizing Committee introduced the driverless formula car race this year. 

“The driverless car race is becoming popular in China,” said Kuang Shu Chi(匡书池),  a new member of Hefei Technology University’s Formula Student driverless team.

Kuang Shu Chi(匡书池), 24, switched his major from a machinery engineering to autonomous car because of growing the demand.

China’s driverless car market is expected to reach 200 billion RMB in 2020, and there will be around 8.6 million autonomous vehicles on the road by 2035, according to the China Industrial Information Network. This forecast has not only inspired thousands of students like Kuang Shu Chi(匡书池), but also hundreds of start-ups like KITTCAMP to enter driverless car industry in China.

Continue reading Student start-ups inspired to enter the driverless car market

Bloomberg’s Tom Orlik: Even painful, China needs deleverage

Dec 2, 2017, | by Naanga

Beijing, China — Bloomberg economists expect China’s economic growth to further moderate to 6.4 percent in 2018, to 6.2 percent in 2019, according to a survey conducted by Bloomberg News.

“The Chinese economy is going to slow towards mid-single digits, 5.5 percent by 2020,” said Tom Orlik, the chief Asia economist for Bloomberg Intelligence.

Not only Bloomberg is de-escalating the second largest economy’s estimation, but also IMF, Morgan Stanley, and UBS will moderate in coming years outlook.

Continue reading Bloomberg’s Tom Orlik: Even painful, China needs deleverage

Are we asking the right questions?

Nov. 1, 2017, 09:07 AM | Clyde RUSSELL

LONDON, Nov. 1 (Reuters): “The overall picture is that China’s BRI is still largely a conceptual exercise, rather than a physical reality.” according to Reuter report. It might be the right time to think it over… Belt and Road! Only that word can attract all eyes on China. The mass of the forum, which related to China, is trying to draw in ”Belt and Road”. In this week, for instance, “Belt and Road Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs” forum held in Kathmandu, Nepal, also #BRI is the hot topic during the London Metal Exchange Week, and mining conference in Melbourne too. Are we asking the right questions?

Naanga contributed to this report.