Tibetan-inhabited areas in China’s Qinghai cracks hard nut of poverty alleviation

By Liu Chengyou, Jiang Feng, People’s Daily
Qinghai province in northwest China has lifted a growing number of poor populations out of poverty in its Tibet-inhabited areas in recent years by relocating those from inhospitable areas to new residences and boosting industrial development, blazing a new trail to improve livelihood, facilitate development programs and stabilize employment in in areas of extreme poverty.
Zeku, a Tibetan-inhabited county with an average altitude of 3,700 meters in Qinghai’s Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, once faced daunting task of poverty alleviation.
To shake off poverty, the county launched a program to encourage demolition of dilapidated houses for land reclamation, as well as relocation of impoverished populations from inhospitable areas in 2017.
By increasing investment, the program made synchronized efforts in both relocation and poverty alleviation, laying emphasis on both housing and employment, and endeavored to fill the shortages in infrastructure and livelihood
So far, 15,159 impoverished people, or 94 percent of the county’s total impoverished population from 3,999 households have been relocated to 38 new sites.
Cheten Gyatso, who now lives in a new apartment with five bright rooms on the south, shared his story of how he shook off poverty.
He attributed his happiness today to Tsering Singshul, member of the Party committee of Zeku’s Qiakeri township. “I couldn’t have lived in this house were it not for him,” Cheten Gyatso said, when Tsering Singshul was on a home interview to the relocated households.
“Cheten Gyatso and his family used to live in a village at the foot of a mountain, and many of his livestock died because of the poor grass quality there,” Tsering introduced.
To make things worse, Cheten Gyatso’s family owed a large sum of money after the man fell ill years before, and the family was later registered as an impoverished household.
At first, Cheten Gyatso was also concerned about what to live on after the relocation despite the frequent visits by Tsering Singshul, and was later assured by the province’s poverty alleviation action plans that help the relocated population shake off poverty through diversified approaches, such as conducting development programs, providing job-seeking assistance, offering access to education, offering health insurance, and ecological conservation.
After being relocated to the township, Cheten Gyatso traded his 1.33-hectar meadow and 20 yaks for the shares of a professional cooperative, and earns another 21,000 yuan ($2,966) each year serving as an ecological monitor. Besides, he also invested in commercial real estate and receives stable annual dividends. Now, his four children are studying in the township, and he is also covered by medical insurance and old-age pension. The family of six has an annual per capita disposable income of 11,937.4 yuan, bidding a farewell to poverty.
To increase income and maintain sustainable development is a priority of Qinghai province for poverty alleviation in Tibetan-inhabited areas of extreme poverty.
The province has channeled a million yuan to each of its 2,358 administrative villages with impoverished residents to run collective development programs. Besides, it has also worked vigorously to promote employment. In last year alone, it offered training courses on vocational skills for 17,000 impoverished laborers, and trained 2,400 rural entrepreneurial leaders, radiating 16,151 impoverished households. Through targeted measures, Qinghai has offered new job opportunities to 13,300 impoverished laborers across the province.
Qinghai has fostered its yak and highland barley businesses into strong drivers for poverty alleviation, and its photovoltaic power programs are expected to make annual revenue totaling 570 million yuan and increase income for 87,400 poor households. The province also upgraded poverty-alleviation tourism programs in 208 villages, benefiting 55,400 people from 16,300 households.

The picture taken on July 25, 2019 shows the open ceremony of a horse racing festival in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai province. Cultural tourism industry is largely promoted by Yushu to improve the income of local people. (Photo by Feng Jiangjiang, People’s Daily Online)

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