Chinese President Xi Jinping presides over a symposium on poverty alleviation in Yinchuan, northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, July 20, 2016. (Xinhua/Li Tao)
YINCHUAN, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged developed regions in the east help their partner regions in the west better fight poverty.
Xi made the remarks at a national conference on poverty alleviation through east-west cooperation in Yinchuan, capital city of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Wednesday, according to an official statement released Thursday.
Pairing and cooperation between eastern and western regions in poverty relief is conducive to coordinated development and common prosperity, according to Xi, who is also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
China has used the strategy for 20 years, and the widening gap between the east and west has been curbed, said the president, hailing "significant progress" in poverty alleviation in poor western areas and old revolutionary base areas.
"Cooperation between paired eastern and western regions in poverty alleviation must continue for a long time," said Xi at the meeting.
Eastern regions should make more efforts to aid western regions, which should have a sense of urgency and be proactive in the fight against poverty, he said.
Local Party chiefs and government heads in both east and west should personally push for poverty alleviation and consider it a major task. Eastern regions should gradually increase financial aid to the west.
Counties in the east should be paired with counties in the west, said Xi, also encouraging partnerships between townships and villages.
Industries in the east should be gradually moved west to help alleviate poverty, according to Xi.
Xi stressed precision in targeting and helping the poor, not only financially, but also in education, culture, health, science and technology.
Officials will be assessed not only on how much effort they make, but also whether their measures are effective, said Xi.
Poverty alleviation tasks should be clearly divided, and officials should be held accountable and punished for any failures, he said.
At the end of 2014, China had 70 million people living below the nation's poverty line of 2,300 yuan (about 343 U.S. dollars) in annual income in 2010 constant prices. Almost all of them live in the countryside, particularly in the west.
China aims to eliminate poverty by 2020, when its 13th Five-Year Plan is completed.