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Bank of China's Poverty Alleviation Support for Xianqian Township in Tibet


2009-09-30

In Xianqian Township, the northwest of Gaize County, Ngari Prefecture, Tibet, local cadres and those from surrounding villages are welcoming the Poverty Alleviation Working Group from Bank of China Tibet Branch with snow-white khatags and sweet butter tea in a simple and noble manner at the gate of the government building just before the Mid-autumn Day and National Day. Led by leaders of the Branch, it is the fourth time that the Working Group, with poverty alleviation of the township always in mind, investigate the local situation and solve problems on the spot after thousands of kilometers of drive from Lhasa.

Upon arrival, the Working Group go straight into the tents and talk with the county, township and village leaders. After learning about the collective purchase and stocking of yaks, production and income improvement of herdsmen, allocation of school facilities and so on and investigating the emergency-relief supply storehouses specially established by the Branch, the Working Group donate two laptop computers, RMB 50,000 as the initial investment for an automobile service factory, a batch of food and medicine urgently needed in the high and cold area, and another sum of over RMB 10,000 for facility repair and purchase for the township primary school.

The Xianqian Township, famous as the entry into Tibet for liberation of Ngari by the advance company of the Independent Cavalry Division of the PLA Xinjiang Military Area Command, is located in Gaize County, Ngari Prefecture, 1,400 kilometers away from Lhasa. With a population of about 1,700 on an area of 21,400 square kilometers, an average altitude of around 5,000 meters, a usable area for pasture of only 6.7% of the gross area of the township, cold weather, light rainfall, and frequent natural disasters, the township has been listed by the Tibet Autonomous Region as a one-to-one assistance target for the Branch since 2007.

The Party committee of the Branch has always paid great attention to poverty alleviation of the one-to-one assistance target as an effective way of poverty reduction of pastoral areas as well as a return to the Tibetan people in fulfilling its social responsibility. As repeatedly stressed by the Branch leaders, "Poverty alleviation is a good thing and a big deal, and we must do it well with a strong sense of obligation to help herdsmen enjoy a richer life as soon as possible", in practice, guided by the idea of "implementing anti-poverty programs at the village level, funding at the household level and making progress throughout the township", the Branch took a series of effective measures through multiple channels and at different levels based on the actual situation of the Xianqian Township and the advantages of Bank of China: setting up a Poverty Alleviation Working Group led by a leader of the Branch and with department heads as members; designating capable cadres to reside in both the township and villages in the form of working teams.

Funding the comfortable housing project. Most herdsmen in Xianqian Township cannot afford the expense on transportation of materials for the comfortable housing project due to low residential density and inconvenient transport. To improve the situation, the Branch raised RMB 100,000 in 2008 and disbursed the money to villages according to their respective distance and road condition, helping complete the construction of 48 sets of houses in the township. In addition, the Branch also called on its staff to donate clothes, bedding, books, stationery, medicine and other items equivalent to tens of thousands of yuan to help the herdsmen live at ease.

Focusing on sustainable development of animal husbandry. Xianqian Township is a typical destitute area where the people live purely on animal husbandry. In recent years, their livelihood is seriously affected by significant decrease of livestock population due to epidemics, narcotic grass and other causes. The field investigation carried out by the Branch and the local officials at the township and village levels revealed that the survival ability of yaks in resistance to the poison of narcotic grass is higher than sheep, so the Branch put forward the program of purchase and collective grazing of yaks for poor households in Maguo Village and applied to the Head Office for a donation of RMB 636,800. The money was used for purchase and collective grazing of 337 yaks as well as a tractor for shift of pasture land. At present, these yaks have given birth to 39 baby yaks. It is expected that 15 to 20 adult yaks as well as the cheese and butter from the female yaks will be sold each year, with 50% of the income for subsidy of herdsmen's life and for purchase of female yaks. In this way, the township will eliminate poverty in five years.

Building up emergency-relief supply storehouses. The Xianqian Township suffers frequent natural disasters due to harsh weather conditions. Together with a long distance between the county and the township and bad road conditions, it is difficult to get assistance from afar once a natural disaster occurs. To solve this problem, the Branch built up emergency-relief supply storehouses in the township in 2007 and stored 100 warm coats, 2,000 kilograms of tsam-pa and some medicine as the first batch of stock. In early 2008 when an unprecedented massive blizzard hit Kangrao and Rexiong villages, it was these storehouses helped the blizzard-hit people overcome the disaster. Each year, the Branch adds new emergency relief supplies to these storehouses, including fleece clothing, gloves and earmuffs, snow-blindness-proof goggles, tsam-pa and brick tea.

Enhancing long-term development and poverty alleviation with knowledge and skills. The Poverty Alleviation Working Group, led by leaders of Tibet Branch, go to the Xianqian Township every year to propagate the spirit of the 17th CPC National Congress and relevant beneficial policies, spread economic and financial knowledge and encourage cadres at the township level to improve their overall quality by more part-time study. In addition, the Branch has set up a regular experiencing and learning mechanism for cadres of both the Branch and the government, bearing all the expenses of visits and study by selected cadres of Xianqian Township in Lhasa. Furthermore, the Branch makes effort in guiding the local people to change their ideas for expanded income generating channels. In some villages of the township, collective grazing enables excess labor force to shift to the comfortable housing project and infrastructure improvement projects, hence a group of fortune-making pioneers with strong skills. In 2008, the township achieved an income of over RMB 800,000 from export of labor services with a total of 765 person-time, surpassing its preset target.

With effective poverty alleviation measures, Bank of China has provided both material and spiritual support to the Xianqian Township in improving its infrastructure, fighting against natural disasters and accelerating the pace of poverty reduction, thus winning recognition from the autonomous region government. Recently, the Party committee and the government of the township sent a co-signed Letter of Thanks to Bank of China Head Office and also dispatched representatives to Lhasa to present silk banners o Bank of China Head Office and the Tibet Branch, expressing their respect and appreciation for the bank's long-term care and poverty alleviation effort.

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