A story of struggle and success: China’s 832 poorest counties

Country/area: China

Organisation: CGTN

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 17 Oct 2020

Credit: Zhu Sirui, Nadim Diab, John Goodrich, Lin Dongwei, Qin Zhaoying, Shi Tao, Bi Jiankun, Zhang Sheng, Zhang Yupeng, Zhang Dongbo, Xu Jiye, Wen Yaru, Zhang Shilei, Pang Xinhua, Fan Yun

Project description:

Published in October 2020, it is an interactive story about China’s poverty alleviation policies and achievements. It analyzes the state of regional poverty in China and accounts the achievements made in poverty-stricken counties over the years. The presentation is a combination of data visualization and front-end interaction. Maps have been used to show the geography of each impoverished county as well as their distribution in China. As the project shows, all 832 counties designated by the government as poverty-stricken in 2013 were located in western and central China.

Impact reached:

China’s poverty alleviation is a remarkable step around the world to fight against poverty. China is the first country to achieve the poverty alleviation goal set in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


This project provides a comprehensive idea of China’s poverty alleviation solutions and achievements for readers, and obtains positive feedbacks on various platforms.

Techniques/technologies used:

The tools include Adobe Illustrator, JavaScript, D3.js, html and CSS. SVG was used for mapping and animation, while JavaScript and D3.js were employed to develop the page and graphics. The page is responsive, adapted for both desktop and mobile.

What was the hardest part of this project?

China’s poverty alleviation strategy is complex, both for audiences in China and abroad. The challenge was to simply and adequately present a complete picture of the status quo of poverty in China.


For example, for a graphic showing “East-West Pairing-off Cooperation,” we were considering the information hierarchy about how to show this policy in an understandable way for our non-Chinese readers, how detailed it should be. We were considering make it simpler and more straightforward, that was the hardest part. So, for the final version we decided to show the cooperation relations at the provincial level, not in counties details – something that can be easily understood by the non-Chinese readers.

What can others learn from this project?

This project is a good example that shows how to simplify and use an understandable angle to tell a story that is very complex, involving both a timeline and a geographical dimension. By using data visualization and interactives, we illustrated the picture of China’s poverty situation nationwide and introduced government’s strategy to fight against poverty in a both informative and user-friendly way.

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