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[China-opinion]Genuine poverty alleviation - Opinion[Page:1]

That some local governments try hard to seek the designation "poverty-stricken" is a slap in the face for the country's increasingly robust poverty-alleviation efforts.
Datong county, in North China's Shanxi province, shook off its poverty-stricken classification in 1996 - it was even designated an economically "better-off" county to show what had been achieved. However, after 16 years, it is celebrating the re-designation as a poverty-stricken county.
It may be completely justifiable for this particular county, where 75 percent of the residents have an income below the country's poverty line of 2,300 yuan ($360), to receive financial help and various preferential policies as a poverty-stricken area. The county has received much less financial aid than neighboring counties with the poverty-stricken label.
It is certainly justifiable for the government to do all it can to lift people out of poverty. The central and local governments spent 146? billion yuan from 2001 to 2010 in the fight against poverty, more than 70 percent of which was allocated to poverty-stricken counties.
However, such aid should never spoil local leaders and villagers to such an extent that they start to take the aid for granted and lose their own spirit of enterprise and the ability to stand on their own feet.
It is reported that some counties which have become much better off try hard to hide their well-being from the central government in order to get government assistance.
Investigations need to be conducted in a detailed manner to make sure that all the money the central government provides for poverty alleviation is used for this purpose.
Any local leaders who are found to have squandered funds supplied for poverty alleviation on other things, such as luxurious office buildings and limousines, should never be spared the penalties they deserve.
We also need a detailed assessment of how much of this money provided to a local government has been used to effectively develop the local economy and how much has been squandered. We also need a mechanism to make sure poverty-stricken counties effectively use the aid to tap the potential of their resources and develop their economies.
(China Daily 02/26/2013 page8)
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