Policy eyes to reshape urban-rural relations
China on Sunday released a package of policies as the "No. 1 central document" of the year, calling for rural vitalization as part of the country's great rejuvenation.
There is quite a lot of work to be accomplished in Chinese villages, where opportunities for development have arisen as the country enters a new era, the document said. It provides a blueprint for comprehensive planning work in China's villages, covering the economy, politics, culture, society, ecology and Party construction.
In this latest document, the strategy was described as a "historic task" essential to accomplishing China's modernization goals and building a moderately prosperous society, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The "No.1 central document" is consistent with Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech at the annual central conference on rural work in December 2017. The conference sets rural vitalization as "a top priority task" for Party committees, Wen Tiejun, a professor at the School of Agriculture and Rural Development of Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday.
Wen said the document can be seen as "a major strategic shift" on agriculture, which emphasizes the need to improve the social status of farmers by establishing a sustainable and innovative industry.
The strategy of rural vitalization was first proposed as one of the major aspects of developing a modern economy in a report delivered to the 19th National Congress of the CPC, Xinhua reported.
Han Jun, chief of the Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group, said in a forum in January in Beijing that the key to realizing rural vitalization is to reshape urban-rural relations.
"The essence of urban-rural integration is to tackle the supply of money, land and people. For a long time, resources in rural areas have been transferred to cities one way," Han said.
To reenergize villages, excessive population loss in villages must be curbed, Han said.
Villages need to activate their idle land resources as well as expand their financing channels, Han said.
"The transferring fee of national land has surpassed 20 trillion yuan since 2012. Construction in many cities mainly relies on land transferring fees. The money comes from land in rural areas but is used in urban construction," Han was quoted by Caixin Magazine as saying.
The document said that by 2020, the strategy should have established an institutional framework and policy system. By then, no Chinese person should live below the current poverty line, and rural productivity and agricultural supply should substantially improve.
By 2035, "decisive" progress should be made, with basic modernization of agriculture and rural areas. All Chinese, either in cities or rural areas, should have equal access to basic public services. Urban and rural integration should improve. By 2050, rural areas should have strong agriculture, a beautiful countryside and well-off farmers.
The document also emphasized stronger anti-corruption efforts in villages and a crackdown on unhealthy tendencies that threaten the farmers' interests. China will seriously investigate and deal with fraud found in poverty alleviation.
"China's rural vitalization requires that CPC leaders understand agriculture, love villages and farmers," Wen said, adding that in the past, capitalists have been given too much weight on agricultural issues.
China will strengthen its efforts to crack down on illegal religious activities and overseas infiltration in rural villages, the document also said.
Religious intervention in rural public affairs will be legally prohibited. China will continue to clear out the abuses of religious temples and religious statue construction.
China allows religions, but not illegal religions and religious activities. In rural areas, the notion of a cohesion force is relatively low, especially in the central and western regions, Du Xiaoshan, an agricultural research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday. Religious issues can easily lead to social instability if not properly governed, Du said.