After the Annual Central Economic Work Conference concluded on Wednesday, Wang Xiaoyi, a senior researcher on social studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, commented on its significance in an article published by China Youth Daily:
China has already become a middle-income economy and its farmers have long solved the problem of food and shelter. The next step is to revitalize the rural regions and coordinate balanced urban-rural development.
According to the experiences of developed countries, it is almost inevitable that the working-age rural population will migrate to the cities, which in turn leads to a hollowing out of rural areas. China has been experiencing such a process since the 1980s. With large numbers of residents migrating to cities to find work, many rural regions have become empty of working-age residents and many seniors who cannot leave home have become so-called empty nesters.
In order to implement the central leadership's rural revitalization strategy proposed at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, held in October, to its fullest extent, there are two problems that must be solved.
First, rural areas in different regions have different resources and production structures, so revitalization efforts must be tailor-made.
Second, any revitalization strategy must adapt to, instead of being contrary to, industrialization and urbanization. For example, in the downstream provinces of the Yangtze River, rural areas used to supply grain to the whole country, but now their prosperity is from industry. In northwestern regions where the weather is dry, grain production used to be low but now they have been gaining more importance in that aspect.
That requires the governments of the two regions to take measures that suit their conditions so as to best implement the rural revitalization strategy.