Education

4 million Chinese children live in extreme poverty: study

Updated: 2015-05-27
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About 4 million pre-school children in China live in extreme poverty, a recent study showed, as observers said that direct support for poor families is essential to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Among about 36 million people in China who live in extreme poverty, 3.3 to 4 million are children aged 0 to 6 years, according to a report released by the All-China Women's Federation and National Health and Family Planning Commission.

The report shows that the children suffer from malnourishment are six to eight times more likely to grow at a slower rate than those living in urban areas. More than half of children living in extreme poverty suffer from zinc deficiency, the report said.

A staff member from the research team said that some 6-year-old children he saw in rural areas were only as tall as 2-year-old's.

Many rural mothers leave to work in cities, and the report shows that 24.8 percent of infants are breast-fed in the first six months, much lower than the national average of 27.6 percent and the worldwide average of 38 percent.

Experts said that breaking the cycle of intergeneration poverty through direct support for poor families is key to solving poverty issues plaguing the world's second-largest economy.

"If we fail to get these children out of poverty, the cycle will continue and further polarize society. The central government has shown its resolve and has come up with measures to fight poverty. But there is much room for improvement in the policy's implementation," Du Xiaoshan, a researcher at the Rural Development Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Concerted efforts are needed by the central and local governments, media and third-party regulator, as well as society in monitoring and ensuring that the money goes directly to families in need, Du noted.

Local governments also generally lack well-trained personnel who can properly implement poverty alleviation policies.

In November, the State Council approved the Underprivileged Children's Development Plan (2014-20), pledging benefits ranging from better prenatal care to effective and affordable education.
   
SOURCE:
ecns.cn
  
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