Inside Story

How is extreme poverty being measured in China?

President Xi Jinping declares victory over destitution, but critics question the poverty bar and project sustainability.

Ending extreme poverty has been a key initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.

Almost a decade later, Xi has announced his country has achieved the “miracle that would go down in history”.

His government said over an eight-year period, nearly 100 million people have been lifted out of destitution. But critics are questioning China’s bar for measuring poverty and the sustainability of the project.

There has also been controversy surrounding the timing of the announcement.

As the country’s Communist Party is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary, the government said it has been victorious over the coronavirus pandemic and will lay out its plans for medium-term growth next week.

This is while the pandemic is expected to push 150 million people into extreme poverty globally this year.

So, what does the announcement mean for Xi’s legacy and the global economy?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


Einar Tangen – Political analyst and adviser for China’s provincial government

Dan Wang – Chief economist at Hang Seng Bank China

Yuki Tatsumi – Co-director of the East Asia programme at The Stimson Center think-tank