A total of 28 poor counties in China have emerged from poverty during the past year, the 21st Century Business Herald reported on Wednesday, citing data released by the State Council Poverty Alleviation Office.

“The 28 poor counties were removed from the poverty list — this is the first time in history since the establishment of the poor county system in 1986, that a net reduction was achieved,” said Xia Gengsheng, a member of the Poverty Alleviation Office.

In 2017, about 100 counties applied for withdrawal from the poverty list. At present, these applications are under review following county, municipal and provincial level reviews.

The progress follows the goal of the Nineteenth Party Congress that puts forward the mobilization of the whole society in order to solve regional poverty and achieve an overall living standard by 2020.

The country currently has about 800 poor counties. In order to achieve the objectives, the poverty-stricken areas will need to accelerate their pace, the report added.