China has for the first time endorsed efforts by foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to alleviate poverty. The endorsement was made in a policy blueprint released yesterday and opens the door wider for agencies to participate in development. The State Council released the full text of the White Paper on Rural China's Poverty Reduction, which outlines China's poverty alleviation policies for the next 10 years. A section was dedicated to international co-operation. Although many foreign NGOs have gained a foothold in China, their status remains ambiguous because they cannot register as independent organisations. Most foreign NGOs have registered as affiliates of mainland government departments or institutes. The white paper pledged to better manage loans and donations from foreign agencies. It also promised to set aside more supporting funds for foreign projects. It is common practice for foreign donors to request that recipient countries support or match donations to ensure the commitment of the recipients in carrying out projects. For the first time, the white paper also gave details about projects on poverty alleviation for disabled people and women in rural areas. An official at a provincial poverty alleviation office said the inclusion of efforts to help the two groups represented a more comprehensive approach by the Government. 'Helping the disabled is still the responsibility of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, while helping women is the work of All-China Women's Federation,' the official said. 'Including the work of other departments in this white paper drafted by the Office of the Leading Group of Poverty Alleviation and Development is a step forward.' The white paper fine-tunes existing poverty-alleviation measures. The Government claimed only 30 million people - mostly in remote areas - were poverty-stricken after a six-year campaign last year. The focus of the white paper was on how to help them. The Government has adopted the old approach of channelling poverty-alleviation funds to designated poor counties, although it will update the list and take into account the financial strength of the county governments. The paper said funds would be directed to the western region and minority groups.