December 30, 2017 / 9:05 AM / 23 days ago

China recovers $112 million in misused poverty relief funds - Xinhua

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese authorities have recouped 730 million yuan ($112.20 million) in misappropriated funds as part of an investigation into the country’s national poverty-reduction scheme, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

Nearly 450 people have been charged for offenses relating to the misused funds in an inspection of 28 provinces, said Xinhua, citing the Ministry of Finance and the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

The report gave no details on how the funds were misused.

China’s government has pledged to wipe out poverty by 2020, targeting 70 million people living below the poverty line, but researchers and social workers say a lasting solution will take much longer.

China has spent 196.1 billion yuan ($30.14 billion) on poverty relief over the past four years, said Xinhua.

Earlier this month, Hu Zejun, the head of the National Audit Office, said that the country has punished a total of 970 people for misusing the funds under the same programme. It was not clear whether that number included the 450 people charged for offenses.

Hu said 101,800 people had been removed from the government list of registered poor while another 95,000 were added.

Beijing committed 86 billion yuan ($13.22 billion) to poverty alleviation in 2017 under the national programme, most of which is used for infrastructure projects, as well as subsidies for education and health care.

($1 = 6.5063 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Editing by Kim Coghill

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