Choosing the right cadres is the key to solving China's poverty problem, Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji said yesterday. Speaking at the close of a three-day anti-poverty conference, Mr Zhu warned central mandarins to drop their superior attitude in assisting local officials and reminded banks to maintain budgets set aside for poverty relief purposes. He specifically warned cadres that Beijing would take any diversion of poverty relief funds seriously and violators would be dealt with accordingly. The conference - jointly called by the Communist Party's Central Committee and the State Council - was described by official media as the 'highest level of anti-poverty conference held in New China's history'. Premier Li Peng said at the opening of the conference that starting next year Central Government would allocate at least an extra 4.5 billion yuan (HK$4.2 billion) a year of aid and loans to help China's 65 million poverty-stricken peasants. The Chinese Government set in 1994 a seven-year target to eliminate poverty in the country. Yesterday, Mr Zhu reminded the cadres the money must be spent efficiently. He said: 'Leaders in these areas must study the market and choose cost-effective poverty-alleviation projects.' Another Vice-Premier Jiang Chunyun revealed that nine provinces and municipalities in the east had been chosen together with the country's four special administrative cities to provide special relief assistance to 10 impoverished provinces in the west.