China lifts last county connected to highway out of poverty

By Shi Xiaoyun and Xian Gan from People’s Daily
Medog county located in the southeastern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region has been lifted out of poverty earlier this year thanks to the country’s unremitting endeavor in poverty alleviation.
It is a big achievement for the county, said Kelsang Dekyi, deputy to the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), and vice principal of Wanquan Primary School of Medog.
She is very glad to see her fellow townsmen embarking on the road to the moderately prosperous society with the country.
Medog was the last county in China to have access to highways. Even Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee showed his concerns over the region by asking whether the roads to the county had been built when joining a panel discussion with deputies from Tibet during the first session of the 12th NPC in 2013. Till today, this scene still remains fresh in the mind of the deputies.
“Because the roads leading to my students’ homes were muddy, I always smudged their doorways when visiting them. However, this time when I passed by the Zhamo–Medog Highway, I saw constructors working on many sites,” said Kelsang.
Medog is going through dramatic changes everywhere, including the signboards being renovated on the Zhamo–Medog Highway, the refitted roads, as well as the squares and parks newly constructed to offer better entertainment to the people, the NPC deputy noted.
At present, 6 of the 7 townships in Medog have access to hardened roads, and the residents living in the only roadless one will be relocated to a place with better conditions. So far, most of the villages in the county have built roads, some of them even paved the roads to the gates of the villagers.
“Medog is attracting more tourists thanks to the convenient traffic, which brings new development to the county that once remained unknown to the outside world,” Kelsang told People’s Daily.
Thanks to the efforts made in poverty relief, the education in Medog is also taking a turn for the better. As an educator with 17 years of experiences, Kelsang has a particular feeling of the changes.
“We used to have classes in shabby rooms and had to suspend classes on rainy days,” Kelsang recalled, adding that the arms and hands of the teachers and students were often lacerated when covering the rooftop with thatch.
Apart from the poor conditions, the teaching facilities were also far from enough to meet education demand.
“There was only one teacher at the school when I was a student, and two of my brothers and I had to share one bench on classes,” Kelsang remembered.
“But now I’m really happy to see the new classrooms, dormitories, cafeteria, reading room and science lab, and we even have multimedia teaching devices,” she said.
What has been improved is not only the hardware. With the efforts on balancing teaching resources and educational aiding projects, more and more excellent teachers in the region and from other parts of China are coming to Medog for exchange programs. Besides, teachers in the county also have opportunities to improve themselves through study tours in other regions.
Thanks to the steady improvement of educational resources and quality in recent years, 100 percent of the students can be admitted to schools of a higher grade, up from 30 percent in the past.
China has implemented the targeted poverty alleviation for six years, and the poverty eradication strategy for three years, reducing impoverished population to 16.6 million in 2018 from 98.99 million in 2012, said Liu Yongfu, director of China’s State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development at a press conference held on March 7.
Another 10 million people would be lifted out of poverty this year, Liu added.

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