China announces eradication of extreme poverty in last poor counties

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has removed the last remaining counties from a list of poor regions, in what officials described as achieving President Xi Jinping’s longstanding political goal of eliminating extreme poverty by the end of this year.

The milestone was achieved by lifting 93 million people out of poverty since 2013, China’s government said. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a press briefing on Tuesday that China was prepared to share its experience with other developing countries.

China sets its own national standard of extreme poverty, based on a per capita income threshold of 4,000 yuan per year, or around $1.52 per day, and other factors such as access to basic healthcare and education. That compares with a threshold of $1.90 per day set by the World Bank to measure extreme poverty globally.

On Monday afternoon, officials in one of China’s poorest provinces, Guizhou, announced that the last nine remaining counties had been removed from the nation’s list of poor regions. The list, drawn up in 2014, initially identified 832 counties as extremely poor.

Guizhou said average per capita annual income in the counties had risen to 11,487 yuan. State media said third-party auditors had visited the nine counties to conduct final surveys this month.

Guizhou was the last province to report its latest surveys, after other provinces and regions including Xinjiang, Guangxi, Ningxia Yunnan, Sichuan and Gansu removed their final counties from the list earlier this month. ($1 = 6.5820 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Yew Lun Tian and Cate Cadell; Editing by Peter Graff