China has all but met President Xi Jinping’s pledge to eradicate extreme poverty by 2020. More than 800 counties considered severely impoverished just under a decade ago have now cleared a government-defined line of 4,000 yuan, or roughly $600, in annual per-capita income. The last nine, in the province of Guizhou in China’s southwest, were removed from the list this past week.

The sheer scale of China’s overall achievements when it comes to poverty alleviation is remarkable. More than 850 million people have been lifted out of extreme penury in under four decades. Almost 90% of the population was below the international poverty threshold in 1981, according to the World Bank; by the 2019, that was under 1%. It’s true the world as a whole has seen a dramatic improvement in poverty rates, but more than three-quarters of that is due to China. And the amelioration to individuals’ lives under the latest campaign — which involved tracking down remote villages and the very poorest families, one by one — are real and visible.

The milestone, a year before the Communist Party’s 100-year anniversary, is a huge propaganda win. It delivers a timely boost for Xi, who made this a very personal campaign, and likely will eventually officially mark the achievement with fanfare. It’s a morally laudable, and very public, demonstration of what government machinery can achieve with its unique ability to mobilize resources.