Interview: Developing countries can learn three principles from China's poverty alleviation, says U.S. expert

Updated: March 8, 2021 Source:
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Strong government commitment, an effective national implementation as well as corruption control and third-party assessments are three major principles other developing countries can learn from China's success in poverty alleviation, a leading U.S. expert has said.

"I've thought a good deal about how the world can benefit, particularly developing countries and the poorest countries, from China's experience on poverty alleviation," Robert Lawrence Kuhn, chairman of the Kuhn Foundation, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on Feb. 25 that China had secured a "complete victory" in its fight against poverty.

Over the past eight years, the final 98.99 million impoverished rural residents living under the current poverty line have all been lifted out of poverty.

Kuhn, who has been closely following China's transformation, said he was fascinated that China's solution is to create a massive, highly targeted and individualized poverty alleviation program.

"China's success demands it to be analyzed and to be understood what are the principles that other countries can apply," said Kuhn.

The expert believed that Xi's leadership and commitment are one of the prime reasons for such an achievement.

The second principle is an effective national implementation structure, said Kuhn, who emphasized that "there's a standardization in defining poverty" in China.

"A standardization of programs doesn't mean one-size fits all, but it might be a constellation of different ideas that people can try or pick from a list of techniques to use (to fight against poverty)," Kuhn said.

Those techniques then are fed back to the central government where officials keep records, so that other people working on poverty alleviation can learn from and use the techniques, he added.

A system that can really crack down on corruption is another factor, the expert said.

The success of China's poverty alleviation campaign depends on strict, quantitative and transparent procedures, said Kuhn.

"So poverty alleviation is a remarkable achievement for China as a whole. It has benefited hundreds of millions of Chinese people, but it also gives great insight into how the whole Chinese system works," he said.

Every impoverished household is guaranteed help, every village has designated officials to carry out targeted measures, and different levels of local Party secretaries coordinate their roles, he said, adding that third-party assessments are conducted regularly and randomly to assure accuracy and honesty.

Kuhn and his team have spent three years to complete a documentary titled "Voices From the Frontline: China's War on Poverty," which observes the poverty alleviation plan in China.

The documentary provides a textured and intimate portrayal of China's poverty alleviation by following six cases that highlight China's strategy and the systems as well as the organization needed to implement it.

Editor: 王予