The head of the International Labor Organization has lauded China's
determination to end domestic poverty on schedule as the COVID-19
pandemic causes job losses and impoverishment on massive scales around
Guy Ryder, director-general of the UN agency, said China's rep
decision to stick to the goal of eradicating rural poverty by the end of
this year amid a "complex economic environment" will set a bench mark
in meeting the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which includes
eliminating extreme poverty worldwide in a decade.
"Today, the world stands at a tipping point," he said, as the
pandemic has pushed an estimated 100 million people into extreme
International cooperation is needed, given that no country can beat
the crisis alone, and there's no returning to the pre-pandemic status
quo, Ryder told a forum in Beijing on Wednesday via a prerecorded
The forum on poverty alleviation through employment was part of a
series of events marking China's seventh National Poverty Relief Day on
Oct 17, a date that is also observed globally as the International Day
for the Eradication of Poverty.
The ILO estimates that global labor income fell 10.7 perp
year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2020－the equivalent of $3.5
trillion－and the number of working hours lost in the second quarter of
the year was equivalent to 495 million full-time jobs.
Promoting employment has long been used as a tool to fight rural
poverty. Local governments have set up more than 30,000 factories near
poor villages across the nation to that end. Some 4.8 million poor
farmers were given "welfare jobs", which have generated paychecks and at
the same time boosted public services in rural regions. Programs have
also been launched to create urban jobs for young farmers.
The State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and
Development, the top anti-poverty agency, said the number of registered
poor migrants－farmers who left their poor villages to find better jobs
in cities－nearly doubled between 2016 and 2019, reaching more than 27
million by the end of last year. Meanwhile, their average annual income
more than doubled over the same period to 26,544 yuan ($3,940).
China's poverty line was around 4,000 yuan this year, and the exact
number is adjusted from place to place with purchasing power parity.
While addressing the event in Beijing, deputy head of the office Ou
Qingping said working in cities has not only bolstered their financial
standing but has also helped "open their eyes and minds" to new skills
and better lives.
This year marks the final stretch of China's poverty relief campaign,
which aims to lift more than 98 million rural poor across the nation
out of absolute poverty between late 2012 and the end of this year. It
had fared well along the path, with more than 93 million farmers
escaping poverty by the end of 2019.
However, the domestic COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year has created
new challenges by triggering travel restrictions and disruptions to the
logistics chains. That has led to temporary unemployment among rural
migrants and the lackluster sales of farm produce, two major sources of
To end poverty as scheduled, pral authorities have stepped up
efforts since February to bolster employment among the rural population,
arranging chartered train and bus services to ensure they reach urban
jobs as planned.
As the outbreak eased in China in rep months, employment
authorities moved to roll out tax breaks and delay payment of social
security fees for businesses that refrained from cutting jobs, as part
of a broader effort to ensure poor migrants remain employed.
The top anti-poverty authorities said they have also managed to
pinpoint the whereabouts of more than 10 million migrants who worked
outside their home provinces so that assistance is readily available
when jobs are jeopardized.