China's practice of digital poverty reduction

Authors: Sun Yu (Professor of School of Government and Management, Beijing Normal University); Xie Ling (Assistant Researcher, School of Government and Management, Beijing Normal University)

  On February 25, 2021, General Secretary Xi Jinping solemnly announced at the National Poverty Alleviation Summary and Commendation Conference that my country's poverty alleviation battle has won an overall victory. The Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core attaches great importance to the role of digital technology represented by the Internet in helping to fight poverty. It looks back on China’s practice of digital poverty reduction, and is useful for demonstrating the achievements of my country’s digital poverty reduction and sharing China’s digital reduction efforts with the world. Poor experience is of great significance.

  One is to pave "roads" and build "bridges" to provide network infrastructure for digital poverty alleviation. Compared with cities, the construction of rural Internet infrastructure is our shortcoming. Since the fight against poverty, my country has done a good job in infrastructure construction such as rural transportation, farmland water conservancy, rural drinking water, rural logistics, and broadband networks, and has gradually established an infrastructure service network with full coverage, inclusive sharing, and urban-rural integration.

  At the beginning of the "13th Five-Year Plan" period, about 50,000 administrative villages in China had no broadband access. Although 150,000 administrative villages had broadband, the access capacity was less than 4Mb/s. In order to make up for the shortcomings of Internet infrastructure construction as soon as possible, relevant departments have continuously strengthened their work and increased resource input to open up the "last mile" of network infrastructure for poverty-stricken areas. Through the implementation of telecommunications universal service pilot projects, 6 batches of telecommunications universal service pilot projects have cumulatively supported more than 130,000 administrative villages to carry out fiber-optic broadband construction and upgrade tens of thousands of 4G base stations, of which about one-third of the tasks are deployed in poor villages. The construction projects of "Broadband Villages" and "100M Villages" have achieved remarkable results. The proportion of poor villages nationwide that have access to optical fiber has increased from less than 70% in 2017 to 98% in 2020, and the proportion of poor villages in deeply impoverished areas that have broadband access has increased from 25% in 2017. 98% by 2020; Telemedicine achieves full coverage of national hospitals in poverty-stricken counties.

  The second is rural e-commerce, allowing the "handheld market" to lead to the fields. In order to form a new ecology of rural e-commerce and open up the entire chain of agricultural product sales, the state has carried out the construction of a agricultural product e-commerce standard system. Seven ministries and commissions jointly issued the "Guiding Opinions on the Construction of Agricultural Product E-commerce Standard System" to regulate rural e-commerce through standardized means ; Support the construction of agricultural product e-commerce platforms and rural e-commerce service sites, strengthen the construction of the logistics system from villages to townships, implement the express delivery project to the countryside, improve the national agricultural product circulation backbone network, and strengthen the cold chain logistics infrastructure network construction such as the pre-cooling of agricultural products origin Direct supply and direct sales system for fresh agricultural products; foster comprehensive demonstration of e-commerce in rural areas, actively build agricultural product brands, and expand network influence.

  The rapid development of rural e-commerce has achieved remarkable results in poverty alleviation. In particular, the new channels of live streaming on Taobao, JD, Kuaishou, Douyin and other platforms have activated the huge rural market. At the 2020 National Online Poverty Alleviation and Digital Rural Development Work Promotion Conference, my country’s comprehensive demonstration of e-commerce in rural areas has achieved full coverage in 832 poverty-stricken counties. The national rural online retail sales have increased from 180 billion yuan in 2014 to 2019. 1.7 trillion yuan, an expansion of 8.4 times. In 2019 alone, the online retail sales of agricultural products reached 397.5 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 27%, driving the income of more than 3 million poor farmers. More than 15 billion express delivery items were received in rural areas, accounting for more than 20% of the total express delivery business in the country. Enterprises and social organizations have also assumed the role of online poverty alleviation. 38 enterprises and social organizations including China Mobile, Alibaba, and China Internet Development Foundation have reached 77 online poverty alleviation paired assistance projects with 42 uncapped poor counties, involving the Internet Coverage, online sales of special agricultural products, distance education, e-commerce training, smart travel, etc. will continue to enhance the endogenous driving force for the development of poverty-stricken areas.

  The third is to "establish a file and establish a card", and the poverty alleviation targets "cannot be less than one." The construction of a national poverty alleviation information network system and accurate portraits of poverty alleviation targets is a unique creation of China's digital poverty alleviation. Traditional poverty alleviation methods generally present a government-led, top-down form. Poverty alleviation resources are generally allocated in poor counties and poor villages. They do not directly target poor households. However, the poverty-stricken population has various causes and needs for poverty alleviation. The traditional method cannot deeply understand the individual situation, and the "overflow irrigation" method is prone to waste and inefficiency. On November 3, 2013, General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward the concept of "precise poverty alleviation" during an inspection in Xiangxi, Hunan. In 2014, the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Office of the State Council issued the "Opinions on Innovating Mechanisms to Solidly Promote Rural Poverty Alleviation and Development", which clarified the "establishment of a precise poverty alleviation work mechanism." Since then, China has opened a new model of poverty governance. While "precise identification" and "dynamic management" have high requirements for massive information processing, the application of big data technology provides efficient assistance for the government's precise poverty alleviation.

  Big data applications can quickly and accurately identify poor people and their causes of poverty, improving accuracy and fairness. At the same time, big data can also comprehensively analyze the family population, economic capacity, health status, local resources, climate, geographical environment and other factors of each poor household, and realize accurate portraits of poor households in a multi-level and three-dimensional manner, which is conducive to the establishment of digital archives. , In-depth analysis of the causes of poverty, and formulating personalized poverty alleviation policies. Using big data to track and predict, timely discover expenditure-based poverty caused by diseases, education, etc., and return to poverty, turning passive to active. At the same time, big data is used to track and identify people who do not meet the poverty requirements or who have been lifted out of poverty, so as to prevent the waste of poverty alleviation resources.

  The fourth is to support the wisdom first and ignite the fire for wealth creation. "To help the poor first help the wisdom", knowledge is power and knowledge is wealth. In the Internet age, letting children in poverty-stricken areas receive information education and improving the information literacy of the poor is an important way to block the intergenerational transmission of poverty. The “Internet Poverty Alleviation Action Plan” has been deployed and arranged to implement Internet-based intellectual assistance projects to improve the education level and employment and entrepreneurship capabilities of poverty-stricken areas. In practice, it is possible to organize various training institutions and enterprises to develop online skills training platforms for poor households to popularize Internet knowledge and training application skills to the poor; organize e-commerce platforms, live broadcast platforms, application development companies, and logistics companies for rural areas The e-commerce team conducts skills training for the entire chain of online sales to improve the production and sales skills of the poor, and drive the employment of poor households to increase income; coordinate the resources of primary and secondary schools, educational institutions and other aspects to carry out online distance education, and establish distance education classes for primary and secondary schools in poverty-stricken areas , To carry out a pilot broadband satellite joint school, to push the city’s high-quality education resources to impoverished areas for free through satellites and the Internet in online classes, live broadcasts, etc., so that children in the valley can also receive high-quality education; intensify the work of science and technology commissioners to promote " "Technology Poverty Alleviation Online" provides precise scientific and technological services to poor households.

  Data from the 47th "Statistical Report on Internet Development in China" shows that as of December 2020, the number of rural Internet users in my country has reached 309 million, an increase of 114 million from December 2015, accounting for 31.3% of the total Internet users. In April 2021, the "Digital China Construction Development Report (2020)" was released at the 4th Digital China Construction Summit. The report shows that by the end of 2020, the Internet access rate of primary and secondary schools in my country has risen from 79.37% at the end of 2016 to 2020. 100% at the end of the year, 98.35% of primary and secondary schools already have multimedia classrooms.

  Fifth, "digital inclusiveness" will continue the new space for digital development. Winning the battle against poverty is a file submitted by the Chinese government that is satisfactory to the people, world-renowned, and can be recorded in the annals of history. The door to development after poverty alleviation has been opened to promote equalization and digital development. Inclusive construction of digital villages has become an important part of rural revitalization. . At present, China has the world's largest communications network and the largest number of netizens. Big data has provided a powerful boost for poverty alleviation and subsequent digital village construction. However, data from the 46th "Statistical Report on Internet Development in China" shows that as of June 2020, the Internet penetration rate in urban areas is 24.1% higher than that in rural areas, and the size of urban Internet users is 2.3 times that of rural areas; among non-Internet users, rural areas It accounts for 56.2%. Lack of skills, education level restrictions and insufficient equipment are the main reasons why non-netizens do not go online. Behind the digital economy, the "digital divide", as a new "urban-rural gap", brings inconvenience to the lives of the elderly, women, and the disabled, and is even marginalized by the Internet.

  In view of the obstacles to the use of the Internet by the elderly, children, women and other groups in poverty-stricken areas, and the insufficient ability to identify massive amounts of information on the Internet, the information supply to the above groups will be enhanced through e-commerce and distance education. As of December 2020, my country Compared with December 2015, the overall proportion of netizens aged 60 and above increased by 7.3%, and the proportion of female netizens increased by 2.7% compared with December 2015. At the same time, the first secretary of the national organization, college student village officials, "three branches and one support" college students, science and technology commissioners, and western project volunteers guide families in poverty-stricken areas to surf the Internet safely, strengthen network security management in rural areas, avoid network risks, and maintain network order. With the development of digital villages, digital technology has helped e-government services extend to rural areas. 31 provincial governments have built a three-level (province, city, county) government service platform, and 21 regions have achieved five-level (province, city, county, Coverage of townships and villages, the scope of “village-to-village” government services continues to expand, and equalization of public services benefits more people in poverty-stricken areas through digital governance.

  China’s achievements in digital poverty reduction have benefited from its adherence to the party’s leadership, its precision strategy, its adherence to overall coordination, its adherence to poverty alleviation, and its inclusive sharing. China's experience in the practice of digital poverty reduction has expanded international anti-poverty thinking and provided Chinese solutions to the world. Getting rid of poverty is not the end, but the starting point for a new life and a new struggle. In the great journey of rural revitalization, how to consolidate and enhance the achievements of digital poverty reduction, how to steadily promote the construction of digital villages, and how to work together to advance the international poverty reduction process, the innovative practice of digital China construction can help us seek answers.

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