China bets on SOEs to eliminate poverty in ‘Tibet’, the country’s worst, by 2020

Old Tibetan women living in extreme poverty in Tibet. (Photo courtesy: traveltibet)
Old Tibetan women living in extreme poverty in Tibet. (Photo courtesy: traveltibet)

(, Sep10, 2018) – At 7.9 percent, the rate of people living in absolute poverty in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is more than twice the PRC’s national average, which is 3.1 percent, reported China’s official Sep 9. With all the more than 70 counties within its jurisdiction living in absolute poverty, the TAR is the only provincial region in the PRC listed among the country’s 14 toughest battlefields against poverty, the report added.

All this has been despite recent reports of record uplifting of people from absolute poverty in the region. Five years ago, the TAR had some 860,000 impoverished people and a poverty rate of 35.2 percent. With the impoverished population cut to 330,000, its poverty rate fell to 7.9 percent, the report said.

Given the PRC’s current goal to eliminate poverty within its borders by 2020, the TAR government has relied on contributions by centrally-administered state owned enterprises (SOE) over the past decades, which have significantly boosted the local economy, the report noted.

To carry forward this momentum, a work conference was held in Lhasa on Sep 7 with the participation of delegates from more than 40 central SOEs. It concluded with 15 new cooperation agreements being signed by a dozen SOEs, involving an aggregate capital input of 16.96 billion yuan, the report said.

The report cited Wu Yingjie, Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of TAR. as saying while addressing the conference that having central SOEs provide assistance to the region was “a state strategy of China revealing the advantages of the Chinese socialist system,” as it will help narrow the regional development gap and make it possible for the country to be a well-off society in all aspects.

The report said central SOEs had capitalized on their respective advantages to cultivate new business, provide technical training, offer medical assistance, build schools and facilitate cultural and economic exchanges in the TAR.

It cited official local statistics as showing that in the past two years, 16 SOEs had financed 175 poverty relief programmes worth more than 600 million yuan, benefiting 21,000 people in 240 villages.

The report said that to solicit support from more central SOEs, the local government had worked out an investment catalog comprising 167 projects in seven key sectors.

It also said that on Sep 6, a job fair tailor-made for local college graduates and Tibetans from poverty-stricken families opened in Lhasa, with more than 10,000 job vacancies on offer from 140 central and local SOEs.


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