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7 Apr 2022

Luna Sun, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

China: Strict lockdowns put financial strain on low-income families and migrant workers

"China’s lockdowns put working class, poor provinces at risk of ‘falling back into poverty’" 7 April 2022

Authorities in China’s northeast provinces have issued guidelines to protect their low-income populations – including farmers and small-business owners – from falling back into poverty, as the latest coronavirus outbreaks put the livelihoods of people in financially vulnerable regions at considerable risk.

Strict pandemic controls have restricted mobility; weighed on client demand; crippled the manufacturing and services sectors; slashed small-business earnings; and now risk delaying the spring ploughing of fields in the northeastern breadbasket. [...]

And now Beijing is looking to protect its achievement in the face of unforeseen headwinds, with vows to keep people above the poverty line by improving agricultural infrastructure for farmers; helping specific groups find jobs or learn new skills for employment; preventing mass unemployment; and other direct financial support, according to the annual report of the National Development and Reform Commission, the state planner. [...]

Provincial authorities in Jilin said they will offer small loans; transport subsidies to migrant workers of up to 1,600 yuan (US$250); and subsidies to local companies hiring low-income workers. Additionally, there are plans to streamline the process for local farmers to sell their products.

Authorities from Changchun, the capital of Jilin, also said on Monday that 200 yuan (US$31.50) will be given to 45,000 low-income households and about 9,000 poor residents, in addition to care packages containing vegetables and some medical supplies. [...]