US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) in its newly released report has said that China made dubious claims of victory in its “war on poverty” and stressed that it has been one of the central themes of the centennial propaganda campaign of Beijing.
“One of the central themes of the centennial propaganda campaign has been Beijing’s assertion that it had eliminated “extreme poverty” by 2020, a goal first announced by General Secretary Xi in 2015,” USCC said in its report on Wednesday.
The USCC is a bipartisan commission created by Congress to monitor and report on trade, economic, and defence issues in the US-China relationship.
In April 2021, China’s State Council Information Office released a white paper titled “Poverty Alleviation: China’s Experience and Contribution.”
The white paper referred to poverty alleviation as “a key task and index of realization of the First Centenary Goal” and claimed unambiguous success in the CCP’s efforts, stating, “China has secured a complete victory in the battle against extreme poverty, eliminating overall and extreme poverty for the first time in its history of thousands of years, and realizing a century-long aspiration of the Chinese people”, the report read.
Outside experts have identified serious shortcomings in the Chinese government’s methodology, however, and poverty and income inequality remain serious problems in China, the report read.
The USCC report has also said that in the wake of Beijing’s stimulus-led recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s debt burden has further increased, stressing a financial system still struggling to manage an unprecedented debt expansion following the 2008 global financial crisis.
In 2016, China’s financial regulators launched a deleveraging campaign amid fears over growing instability in the financial system. China’s debt has continued to balloon, however, particularly over the past year as the Chinese Communist Party used fiscal stimulus measures to address the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19.