Curbing poverty can surely be deemed to be one of the most eminent objectives on socio-political agendas. Progress in reducing worldwide poverty achieved in to date, however, makes rather sobering reading. China has considerably reduced the number of poor since commencement of economic reforms in the late 1970s. Still, there are ca. 170 million people affected by poverty. This paper investigates the issue whether poverty in China's rural areas is rather of a chronic or temporary nature and what the opportunities are of escaping poverty. Simultaneously, there are discussions whether certain factors rather favour or counteract chronic poverty.