China's Sichuan Province, whose mountainous areas have long been a citadel of abject poverty, on November 17 declared it had removed the poverty label from all of its counties. Seven counties in the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture were the last group of counties in the province to be removed from the national poverty list. Liangshan is home to China's largest Yi community. Of its population of 5.3 million, about 2.8 million are from the Yi ethnic minority group. The prefecture had long struggled with grinding poverty due to rough terrain and a harsh natural environment. In 2013, Liangshan had 881,000 people living in poverty. Over the past five years, the prefecture has undergone a massive anti-poverty campaign, building over 10,000 km of rural roads, relocating 350,000 residents to government-funded housing in new locations, and helping 215 villages develop their collective economy. More than 11,000 officials have been sent to villages to assist local poverty battles. By the end of last year, the poverty headcount ratio in Liangshan had been slashed to 4 percent, according to the provincial government. China has set the goal of eradicating absolute poverty by the end of 2020.
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