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Over the last 35 years, 800 million people have successfully been lifted out of poverty in China. In such a short amount of time, no other country has ever been able to compare to the success and impact of China’s poverty reduction efforts. In 2016, the country lifted 12.4 million people above the poverty line. China is hoping to fully alleviate the poverty throughout its country by 2020.

To reach this goal, 230 billion yuan (33.5 billion dollars) has been allocated to help fight poverty throughout the country. China’s financial institutions have issued 818 billion yuan of loans, bringing the outstanding loan total to 2.49 trillion yuan.

With these financial aids, China plans to lift at least 10 million people out of poverty annually. Having exceeded its 2016 goal, China shows strong and promising results in achieving its goal for 2017. Chinese President Xi Jinping states that the fight against poverty is important in order to further develop the Communist Party and strengthen China’s economic, demographic and political structures.

Despite Rising Costs, China Continues to Reduce Poverty

In 2015, China made the pledge to alleviate poverty to the United Nations, striving to create a lasting impact on millions of lives throughout their country. Although progress has been made, over the last 35 years the rate of progress has slowed while costs have risen.

For example, in 2000, in order to successfully lift a person out of poverty in China, it cost the central government 48 dollars. In 2010, the cost rose to 150 dollars. These costs continue to rise, especially in reaching those living in remote locations, deprived of electricity and clean water. Currently, the cost to lift these people out of poverty is greater than 200 dollars per year.

Although costs have risen, China’s strategies continue to indicate hopeful results for years to follow, especially as their 2017 budget shows a substantial 30 percent increase in poverty-reduction efforts. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China boosted the annual income of rural residents living in poor areas up to 8,452 yuan, an 8.4 percent increase year-on-year.

Alongside these results, 1.58 million struggling families who lived in devastating conditions have had their homes renovated or rebuilt, while 2.49 million residents have been relocated from poor, harmful conditions to developed areas as part of a program led by the National Development and Reform Commission.

The China Daily newspaper states that there are still 43.35 million people living on annual incomes below 2,300 yuan (335 dollars).

As the world’s second-largest economy and most populated country, rural poverty has been a major challenge for the country. However, with help from the central government and many poverty-reduction programs and organizations, China has made massive jumps in its goal to alleviate poverty by 2020.

Brandon Johnson

Photo: Flickr

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Israel is but a pawn on the playing board of the massive Chinese economy. But it is a strong and able pawn.

On April 8, Israeli President Shimon Peres made the first trip to China by an Israeli President since 2013. He met with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, in order to improve economic and diplomatic ties between the countries and to bolster a mutual commitment to opposing the spread of nuclear and other non-conventional weapons throughout the Middle East. According to Peres, China has the ability to strengthen safety and stability in the region.

Just last year, in 2013, Xi met with both Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. China has made a point of urging a revival and reinvigoration of peace talks, giving Israel confidence in cooperation.

A member of the United Nations P5+1, Xi comforted Peres with a pledge from China to continue supporting international nuclear negotiations with Iran. He said China understands Israel’s security concerns with Iranian nuclear proliferation and that he wants to help prevent Iran from obtaining those weapons.

China’s stance on Iran, however, is a bit complicated. A customer of Iranian oil and thus a backer of Tehran, China has resisted imposing heavier sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Consequently, in an effort to achieve diplomacy in all corners of the ideological world, China hopes to both maintain ties with Iran and to improve relations with Israel simultaneously. Israel shares these hopes.

If China manages to retain its close ties with Iran, Israel can potentially utilize those connections and push its own initiatives through the Chinese hand. Peres, for example, claims that China can significantly help in the Middle East, particularly in light of the present tumultuous circumstances of the Arab Spring aftermath. China has brought millions of people out of poverty without relying on foreign aid and assistance and, as such, Israel believes China can bring its expertise to the region.

Though circumstances may not be the same in reverse, China is Israel’s third largest trading partner and Israel can use China’s desire for diplomatic ties in the region to its advantage. In order to solidify ties, Israel is even considering setting up a model farm in southern China. That way, China can study and make use of Israel’s agricultural technology while asserting its power in the Middle East.

– Jaclyn Stutz

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, The Diplomat, The Times of Israel

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In recent years many notorious leaders have been overthrown and put to death for their ruthless ways. Unfortunately, more of these leaders still remain around the world and continue to hold power over innocent lives. Here are 4 that are still around.

Kim Jong un- North Korea

In 2011, Kim Jong-un became Supreme Leader of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, AKA North Korea, preceding his father, longtime dictator Kim Jong-Il whom was in power since 1941.

Today, the desolation of human rights still remains under rule of Jong-un. Thousands of people are held in political prison camps, facing starvation, daily beatings and death. People are sent to these camps for numerous reasons; government opposition being the main one.

If they are not sent to prison camps, execution is likely ordered by the dictator. Among recent reports Jong-un ordered the execution of his grandfather and in 2011, also executed his then girlfriend, Hyon Song Wol. Jong –UN also holds American Kenneth Bae captive for unknown reasons and refuses to release him to the American government.

Outside of prison camps famine spreads like wildfire. An estimated 1 million people have died from starvation since 1990. In addition to this, mobile phone use is highly restricted and internet usage is monitored and filtered by the government.  Television is also censored and runs numerous ads painting the U.S. as an evil nation.  Government opposition is not tolerated by Kim Jong- UN.

Xi Jinping – China

Xi Jinping became president of China in March of 2013. The communist leader claims to have loosened the ties on certain human rights violations, such as eliminating labor camps and modifying the one child rule. However, reports have surfaced stating the newly created “rehab centers” to replace labor camps might be close to one in the same. People are still beaten and starved for opposing government power and expressing religious freedom.

Complete control over all media and internet usage is common in China. Over 40,000 people are employed by the government to monitor web browsing and block news sites deemed unacceptable. Any form of government rebellion is not tolerated. Many people have been punished for speaking out against the dictatorship. Thousands of people are executed and tortured every year for this.

Bashar Al Assad – Syria

President of Syria since 2000, Al- Assad took over after his father Hafez al-Assad died. Once hoped to be a reformer of his father’s ruthless political ways, Al- Assad quickly revealed keen dictatorship after government protesters were attacked under his command.

Internet usage is monitored around the clock.  Blockage of popular internet sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Wikipedia occurred throughout the 2008 -2011 time period.

Protesters are continuously attacked and imprisoned for opposing the dictator. During the 2011 Syrian war, gang rapes of young boys and the killing of children as young as two by Syrian security were reported.

King Mswati III – Swaziland

Located in Africa, Swaziland shares borders with South Africa and Mozambique. This country has been under the rule of King Mswati III’s dictatorship since 1986. The 1 million plus country longs for a democratic government however, King Mswati clearly objects to splitting up the political parties, sticking with traditional monarchies.

Mswati’s monarchy has been known for its lavish and carefree ways which have depleted economic funds. Careless handling of finances has left the Swaziland people to fight for their lives.

Poverty, food shortages and disease take countless lives every day. Over 26 percent of adults live with AIDS, making it the highest rate per country in the world.  Anti-viral treatments that could lower this number dramatically are not provided by the government, resulting in thousands of children becoming orphans every year. The life expectancy in Swaziland is the lowest in the world, estimated to be 48.

Amy Robinson

Sources: USA Today, Amnesty International, CNN, Human Rights Watch, BBC, World Vision
Photo: Foreign Policy

Chinese General Secretary Visit To Fuping CountyXi Jinping who is a General Secretary of the Communist Party of China visit the Fuping County late last December. Fuping County is regarded as one of the most impoverished localities in China with an annual net income per capita that is less than half the set poverty line of 2300 yuan, or $390 USD.

Xi Jinping visited two villages’ homes, clinics, and businesses and spoke with each community concerning income, food, education and medical care. Xi’s visit was broadcast on national television to showcase the rural poor of China. Fuping County resident Tang Zongxiu imparted, “The General Secretary knows life here is difficult and he visited us to ask about our situation. He won’t let us suffer.”

Following his visit to Fuping County, government and private sponsors donated money, food, and other household items. Government work crews and researchers were dispersed and also aided the county. Xi stated, “The most arduous and heavy task facing China in completing the building of a moderately prosperous society is in rural areas, especially poverty-stricken regions.”

The General Secretary emphasizes a renewed focus on policies that support agriculture, rural areas, farmers, and poverty alleviation. Xi Jinping also condemns the embezzlement of poverty-reduction funds. Xi commented on Fuping County remarking, “I want to know how rural life is here. I want to see real life.” Xi Jinping is next in line to become president of China following incumbent President Hu Jintao.

– Rafael Panlilio

Source: CCTVNY TimesShanghaiist