Loan program helps needy women start businesses

China has achieved the largest scale of poverty reduction in the shortest time in history, lifting more than 700 million people from poverty. Key to this achievement is investing in poor women.

For rural resident Chang Ling, a 50,000 yuan ($7,300) loan from a local bank early this year is helping her fulfill her dream of entrepreneurship.

Chang, 31, said she has long wanted to begin trading in agricultural products common in her village in Wulian county, Shandong province, but she had lacked the capital. With the loan, she can start her own business, selling homemade dried sweet potatoes online.

Chang’s loan is just one among the 279.4 billion yuan in loans that the central government had provided to 5.38 million women, as of June this year, to start businesses or create jobs, according to the State Council Information Office. Many of the recipients were poor.

On Sunday, the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development, an international seminar was held to mark the occasion.

As the world’s largest developing country, with a population of more than 1.3 billion, China sees development as the key to solve all of the country’s problems.

Xi Jinping, president, People’s Republic of China

In a congratulatory letter to the seminar, President Xi Jinping said that the Chinese government views the rights to survival and to development as basic human rights.

“As the world’s largest developing country, with a population of more than 1.3 billion, China sees development as the key to solve all of the country’s problems, and it is also the top priority of the governance of the Communist Party of China,” he wrote.

Liu Qibao, head of the publicity department of the CPC Central Committee, said in his keynote speech that by lifting more than 700 million people from poverty, China has achieved the largest scale of poverty reduction in the shortest time in history.

China’s development has also benefited the world, with the Chinese government having provided more than 400 billion yuan in assistance to 166 countries and international organisations, he said.

Tom Zwart, director of the Netherlands School of Human Rights Research, spoke highly of the China’s efforts and achievements to eradicate poverty.

“The right to development is not about money, but about human dignity,” he said.

On Friday, the State Council released a poverty alleviation plan for the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20). By the end of 2015, China still had 55.75 million people living beneath the national poverty line of 2,800 yuan per year.

China plans to have lifted all of its poor from poverty by 2020, especially residents of the nation’s 128,000 needy villages and 832 counties, where poverty has become a regional issue, according to the document.

This story was published with permission from China.org.cn

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