On Dec 5, 2017, Saihanba Afforestation Community was awarded UN's highest environmental honor, the Champions of the Earth Award. 
Covering 92,000 hectares, Saihanba is China's largest forest. Its northern boundary borders the southern edge of Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Winning battle
against poverty
by 2020 
Decoding Xi's report - Poverty relief
Decoding Xi's report - Poverty relief
"We must ensure that by the year 2020, all rural residents living below the current poverty line are out of poverty, and poverty is eliminated in all poor counties and regions. "
Xi Jinping's report to the
19th CPC National Congress
in Beijing, Oct 18, 2017.
"Seeing that poor people and poor areas will enter the moderately prosperous society together with the rest of the country is a solemn promise made by our Party," Xi said in the report.

Road map to prosperity for all
Eliminate poverty
Socialist modernization basically realized
Great modern socialist
Decoding Xi's report - Poverty relief
"Decisive progress has been made in the fight against poverty... Winning the battle in areas of extreme poverty will be difficult, but with enough determination and the right measures, China can secure that victory," Xi said in the report. 

Remarkable progress
In the past 30 years, 700 million Chinese people
have been 
lifted out of poverty, accounting for                
of the global efforts in the same period.
Decoding Xi's report - Poverty relief
More than                              people have been lifted out of poverty; Poverty headcount ratio dropped from 10.2% to less than 4%.
In the past five years
Average number of people lifted put of poverty in each of the past five years.
60 million
13 million
Decoding Xi's report - Poverty relief
--From Xi's report
Govt efforts
"We will strengthen the system for making heads of Party committees and governments at each level assume the overall responsibility for poverty alleviation," Xi said in the report.
During the past five years, Xi has visited the           poorest parts of the country.
Decoding Xi's report - Poverty relief
Targeted poverty alleviation
Targeted poverty alleviation was raised by Xi when visiting a village in Hunan province, Nov 2013.
Focusing on one person or one family
"We should mobilize the energies of our whole Party, our whole country, and our whole society, and continue to implement targeted poverty reduction and alleviation measures," Xi said in the report.
Sending officials to poverty-stricken areas to record all details of poor people and families for each case.
Decoding Xi's report - Poverty relief
Targeted poverty alleviation
Starting in 2014, surveys conducted by authorities have identified:
29.48 million poverty-stricken families
89.62 million poor people
128,000 impoverished villages
From 2013 to 2016, nearly 2.8 million officials were dispatched to work in poverty-stricken villages to help eradicate poverty.
Decoding Xi's report - Poverty relief
Key approaches to poverty relief 
"Particular attention will be paid to helping people increase confidence in their own ability to lift themselves out of poverty and see that they can access the education they need to do so...We will provide focused assistance to areas of extreme poverty," Xi said in the report.
Social welfare
Financial support 
Medical support
Decoding Xi's report - Poverty relief
Experts' perspective
In his speech, General Secretary Xi Jinping reiterated the Party's commitment to serving the people and ensuring prosperity for all. And this we have seen by the number of people who have been lifted out of poverty over the last decade...No other country in the world can boast of such feats.
            ----Peter Kagwanja, president and chief executive of the Africa Policy Institute, a think tank based in Kenya
Targeted alleviation measures are the only way to help the poorest in society and to achieve the major goals of the organization's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development... Its experience can offer valuable lessons to other developing countries.
             ----Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general
Decoding Xi's report - Poverty relief
Experts' perspective
China's experience of lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty obviously holds many lessons for other developing countries.
            ----Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
China lifted more than 60 million people in its less-developed regions out of poverty during the past five years, so it is not an exaggeration to call China the biggest contributor to global efforts in poverty alleviation.
              ----Li Yunlong, a researcher at the Institute for International Strategic Studies under the Party School of the CPC Central Committee
Decoding Xi's report - Poverty relief
Decoding Xi's report - Poverty relief
Sources: 1、Xinhua
2、State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development
3、The white paper titled China's Progress in Poverty Reduction and Human Rights, issued by the State Council Information Office on Oct 17, 2016.
Saihanba means "beautiful highland". Around the 10th century, the rulers of the Liao Dynasty (916-1125), an empire founded by horseback people in North China, declared it a royal hunting ground.
The forests and grasslands dotted with plateau lakes flourished during the mid-17th century.  
Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was so fond of Saihanba that he made hunting there a royal ceremony. 
He once killed 318 rabbits in a single day.
In 1860, a shortage of funds put the breaks on royal hunting tours, prompting the reigning emperor to open the land to the public.
Logging and wild fires gradually wiped out the forest and grassland.
By the 1950s, the beauty of Saihanba had vanished. 
The "the tree of honor" in the photo inspired Chinese scientists to recreate a national forest in Saihanba. In February 1962, the plans were drawn up.
More than 120 forestry graduates joined 242 locals in Saihanba to begin working on rebuilding a green haven.
Over the next 55 years they overcame countless difficulties and setbacks to continue planting trees.
By 1982, the area under cultivation was estimated to be 63,000 hectares. The area is now 68,000 hectares.
This small cottage was home to first generation tree-planters. They lived on pickles, dried buns and melted snow.
Technicians check the growth of larch cones.  

Their children are continuing their work and have introduced new species of trees.
Zhang Sheng, 81, moved to Saihanba to work in 1962 and raised his family in the region.
Eight of his relatives followed his footsteps to work in forestry.
A forest ranger shows his journal of daily patrol.

Many children of the original tree-planters are continuing their work, planting more trees and protecting the forest.
Firefighters patrol the forest. In the past 55 years, no forest fires have broken out.
Fire watchers Liu Jun and his wife, Qi Shuyan, have been keeping an eye on the Saihanba National Forest for 12 years.

Suffering from loneliness and hard living conditions, fire watchers are stationed at nine fire watch towers called Wang Hai Lou.
Today, the tree of honor is surrounded by beautiful grassland and flowers, rather than desert.

Chinese people have created a wonder in Saihanba in the past half-century.
Saihanba, a green wonder
Qixing Lake in Saihanba
Saihanba in morning mist
Happy children in Saihanba
Have fun in Saihanba
Saihanba, a good place to shoot photos
By bus: From the Liuliqiao Bus Station in Beijing, take a bus to Weichang county in Chengde in Hebei province. Take a bus or taxi to the Saihanba National Forest Park once you are in Weichang.
How to get there...
By train: Take Train K1189/K4125/K978 from Beijing Railway Station and get off at Siheyong, a 7-11 hour trip. From Siheyong, take a bus to Weichang. Take a bus or taxi to Saihanba once you are in Weichang.
Editor: Li Hongrui
Design: Li Hongrui, Liu Fang 
Copyedit: Rosemary Bolger, Gu Xin
Executive producer: Feng Minghui
Photo by Zhao Xu, Zou Hong