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Ending China’s poverty in 2020 will be Xi Jinping’s peak achievement. Coronavirus might have damaged it



Ending China's poverty in 2020 will be Xi Jinping's peak achievement. Coronavirus might have damaged it

Then the new coronavirus pandemic tore through the global economy.

China closed factories in January and February to prevent a larger and viral outbreak, but at the same time it was very damaging to employment and domestic production.

Facing reporters at his home An tightly controlled annual press conference at the end of the NPC, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang acknowledged that some Chinese citizens had been impoverished by the pandemic.

“Before Covid-19 hit, there were around five million people living below the poverty line. But because of this disease, some may have fallen back into poverty,” Li said. “Because of this, we now face a greater task in fulfilling our goals.”

Experts say Xi’s opportunity to achieve his big goal depends largely on whether Beijing can get the country back to work quickly.

“As long as work continues to recover or most recover at the end of the year, they will approach their poverty targets,” said Scott Rozelle, co-director of the Stanford University Rural Education Action Program.

“[But] there are only many things that say this will be a constant problem. “

A giant business

For most of the 20th century, China was one of the poorest countries in the world.

Beijing defines absolute poverty as survival of less than $ 324 a year (2,300 yuan), lower than half the World Bank’s poverty line which is more commonly used just under $ 700 a year.
As recently as 1990, nearly 658 million people live below the poverty line, according to Chinese government standards.

Since then, that number has declined rapidly. In 2012 the Chinese government announced that there were 115 million people living in absolute poverty. With less than 10 million left in poverty at the end of last year, it emerged that China is on the step to achieving its goals.

Shenjing He, a professor at Hong Kong University who studies urban poverty, said that although there were only a few people left in absolute poverty, they were among the most severely affected.

“They are people who really suffer because of the problem of poverty,” he said. “They live in very bad conditions and are usually located in mountainous areas and very remote places.”

Chinese government has committed to shopping $ 20.6 billion (146 billion yuan) for poverty alleviation by 2020 – a figure that does not include additional funding from local governments and private businesses, such as Alibaba (BABA) and Tencent (TCEHY), which is highly recommended to contribute.
This government money is distributed at the local level and how each province, city and city ends in poverty largely handed over to officials – a tactic Xi ​​said was designed to adjust policies to a certain area.
More than 750,000 Communist Party officials has been sent to villages across the country to assess local poverty, with many doing door-to-door interviews, according to experts and state media.
The solutions taken by local officials to the poverty crisis vary. In some places, villagers have been given out small loans to help start a business or given visibility on e-commerce sites like Taobao to sell their products better.
Other poverty alleviation measures have become controversial, such as plans to move millions of poor people from their rural communities to more urban environments. Some residents refused to move or find themselves stranded in new cities without jobs or marketable skills.

He, a Hong Kong professor, said the Chinese government had assigned domestic scientific bodies to monitor its progress in poverty alleviation by 2020, to ensure its goals were achieved in “a very important year.”

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But according to my colleagues in China, they don’t think there is a big problem for the government to fulfill this commitment, “he said.

This photo taken in September 2017 shows a billboard showing a photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping visiting residents in the village of Zhangzhuang in Lankao in central Henan province of China.

Millions of people are unemployed

Independent experts say getting an accurate picture of rural poverty on the ground is difficult, partly because of the large size of China and partly because of the secrecy of its government, especially under the increasingly authoritarian and opaque Xi government.

But there are already indications that China’s poor may have been hit by the coronavirus economic crisis.

Unemployment in China has surged after the virus, officially rising as high 6.2% of the population in February. The Chinese government has not officially released the total number of unemployed people, but according to CNN calculations, it will be around 29 million.

However, the official figures do not include people in rural communities or a large number of 290 million migrant workers who work in construction, manufacturing and other important but underpaid activities.

80 million Chinese may have lost their jobs. 9 million more will soon compete for jobs, too
If the migrants are included, as many as 80 million people can get out of work by the end of March, according to an article co-authored in April by Zhang Bin, an economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a think tank run by the government.

‘Perfect storm’

A survey of rural Chinese families by Stanford University Rural Education Action Program (REAP) in the first four months of this year, when the country was worst affected by the virus, it was found that 92% of respondents in the villages had seen their income levels reduced by pandemic protection measures.

“The work of rural workers is basically zero for a whole month after quarantine begins,” the report said.

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Half of the villages surveyed by the Stanford University team reported an average loss of around $ 281 to $ 704 (2,000 to 5,000 yuan) in March.

To cope with the overwhelming income, “half of them have reduced nutrition and food diversity – they have switched to wheat and vegetable diets rather than meat and fruit,” said Rozelle of REAP, who wrote this research. “They already are also reduce spending on their children’s education and spending on non-Covid health problems. “

REAP is not the only survey to find large reductions in rural salaries during coronavirus. Research by Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), quoted in the state-run China Daily media, found that 80% of agricultural workers interviewed said their income could fall by more than 20%.

Some CAAS estimates found that farmers’ salaries could fall by up to 40%.

To make matters worse for some rural communities, parts of China have witnessed the worst flooding in decades in June, just as they began to recover from coronavirus.

According to state media, tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed along the Yangtze River and at least 12 million people were affected, causing an economy of around $ 3.6 billion.

John Donaldson, poverty expert and associate professor at Singapore Management University, said that in many ways coronaviruses have become a “perfect storm” for people living in poverty in China, affecting many different sectors at the same time.

“The plant is still not operating at full power, partly because of fear of the corona virus, you have construction [being put on hold]”Even hotels that buy a lot of food from the countryside are low in business,” he said.

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In addition, Donaldson said that local officials responsible for police poverty alleviation have been troubled by their struggle against the corona virus.


Despite the setbacks, the ruling Communist Party and government-run media have run joint campaigns to convince their domestic audiences that they will meet their targets.

In early June, Xi traveled to the northern province of Ningxia to visit families and observe a workshop, built with a poverty alleviation fund, where villagers produce cartons.

“(Xi) has emphasized efforts to secure a decisive victory in building a society that is prosperous in all respects and eradicates poverty,” Xinhua government news agency words in his writing from the tour.

Experts generally agree that it is very unlikely that the Chinese government will announce that it has lost its target of poverty alleviation by the end of 2020. Donaldson said that the target is likely to be met or they will be sufficiently fudged to say they have met.

But there are fears that even if Beijing fulfills its goal of eliminating absolute poverty by the end of this year, there is still a long way to go to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of its citizens.

For years, Xi has claimed China to be “a fairly prosperous society.”

However, speaking at his press conference in May, Li said that there were still 600 million people – around 40% of the population – living on a monthly income of only about $ 140 (1,000 yuan).

“It’s not even enough to rent a room in a medium-sized Chinese city,” Li said.

Donaldson said that his biggest concern was that once the Chinese government announced it had eradicated absolute poverty, local governments could stop considering all poverty as an important issue, regardless millions of people who still need urgent help.

“I mean, that’s the bottom part line: If poverty is eliminated, how many poor people after this campaign? Nobody will know, “he said.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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