China's top poverty relief agency has pledged "severe punishment" for those who embezzle poverty relief funds or fail to implement anti-poverty programs, said an official from the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development on Friday.
Liu Yongfu, director of the office, said that the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the top graft watchdog, has decided to launch a three-year special campaign between 2018 and 2020 to target corruption and bad working style in the poverty relief sector.
"Strict evaluations will be carried out and those who have failed to implement poverty relief programs or cheated in the job will be punished without leniency, especially those who embezzle poverty relief funds," he told a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office.
Liu made the remarks in response to the latest scandal that has resulted in five local officials being sacked.
The officials from Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, were found to have embezzled poverty relief funds and slacked off in their poverty alleviation efforts, according to a CCDI release on Wednesday.
In Kangbao county, under the jurisdiction of Zhangjiakou, all 15 townships were found to have embezzled relief and agricultural funds, and its disciplinary officials failed to investigate these cases and accepted bribes, the release said.
China has set a goal to complete the building of a "moderately prosperous society" in all respects by 2020, which requires the eradication of poverty.
Liu said that the past five years have seen China's impoverished population - more than 98 million at the end of 2012 - c[MG_SEO]ut by two-thirds, the best performance in the country's poverty reduction history.
To secure the final victory, Liu said the effort will focus on areas hit hard by poverty, and more attention will be paid to the "quality" rather than the "advance rate" of the effort.
"In the past fmarshalls gift card customer serviceew years, we have precisely spotted the poor in rural China, and next we will make sure those who have been lifted out will not be impoverished again," he said.
But the director added that problems such as formalism, bureaucracy and cheating still exist in the sector and the task remained "arduous", especially for areas severely hit by poverty and groups with disability or disease. "We will take practical measures to tackle such problems," he said.