SHANGHAI: China brought 12.89 million rural people out of poverty in 2017, cutting its overall poverty rate to 3.1 percent, the official Xinhua news agency said late on Thursday, citing government data.
China's ruling Communist Party has been making efforts to tackle deep-rooted poverty in its countryside, and aims to raise the annual income of all its residents above the official poverty line of 2,300 yuan (US$365.26) by 2020.
A total of 68.53 million rural people have been lifted out of poverty over the 2012-2017 period, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
China cut its poverty rate to 3.1 percent by the end of last year, down from 4.5 percent a year earlier, but it still has 30.46 million rural people living below the 2,300 yuan poverty line.
The country has recently focused on developing new industries like eco-tourism as well as encouraging the planting of cash crops in poor rural regions.
However, China's graft watchdog warned on Wednesday that tackling corruption and malpractice in poverty relief was one of its major tasks over the coming three years, and called for harsh punishments for officials who misuse funds.
In a statement, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said a township official in the northwestern region of Xinjiang was fired and stripped of his party membership after being accused of embezzling 1.73 million yuan in relief funds.
(US$1 = 6.2969 yuan)
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)