China declares end of poverty in ‘Tibet’

View of Lhasa from Jokhang Temple. (Photo courtesy: Xinhua)

(, Dec23’19) – China has declared that poverty has been eliminated in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), the western half of ethnographic Tibet, a year ahead of President Xi Jinping’s target for achieving the same nationwide by 2020. However, Tibetan areas still remain the poorest throughout the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and it is not clear whether this will have implications on welfare and subsidy allowances for these people.

It bears noting, however, that poverty alleviation subsidies and welfare payments in all Tibetan regions of the PRC have been tied to pledging allegiance to the Communist Party of China and its leadership and the requirement to denounce Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Many Tibetans have been denied these facilities and also punished with jail sentences and so on.

The report said the TAR’s poverty alleviation office announced Dec 23 that 19 counties and county-level districts had risen out of poverty, citing a notice approved by the regional government Dec 9.

With 55 counties or county-level districts having already declared themselves out of poverty previously, all the 74 poverty-stricken areas in the TAR had left behind poverty, the report said.

The report said the rate of poverty in the TAR was 25.32 per cent at the end of 2015.

By the end of 2018, the PRC had 16.6 million rural poor-defined as living on less than 2,300 yuan ($328) a year – said another report Dec 23, adding that almost 400 counties were still listed as impoverished, making for a national poverty rate of above 3 per cent.

The PRC’s Poverty relief chief Liu Yongfu was cited as saying more than 10 million people were expected to be lifted from poverty this year, with some 340 counties being no longer to be labeled as impoverished.

The report said the remaining impoverished rural residents in the PRC were mainly from a mosaic of ethnic communities scattered across western regions: the TAR, as well as four provinces where ethnic Tibetan people live, the southern part of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and three prefectures in Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.

Officials were stated to commonly refer to these regions as the Three Areas and Three Prefectures, the deeply impoverished areas.


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