Girls perform in an activity marking China's first Farmers' Harvest Festival in Zibo, east China's Shandong Province, Sept. 23, 2018. People across China hold various activities to celebrate the country's first Farmers' Harvest Festival, which falls on Sept. 23 this year. (Xinhua/Liu Bingyou)
President urges more progress on rural reform
President Xi Jinping has called for more efforts to promote agricultural upgrading, stimulate rural development and raise farmers' livelihoods in a comprehensive manner as the country celebrated its first Farmers' Harvest Festival on Sunday.
The event will take place on autumnal equinox each year.
Xi, also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, congratulated Chinese farmers on their first Farmers' Harvest Festival. Xi also presided over a group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on the implementation of rural revitalization strategy on Friday.
Xi extended greetings and good wishes to the country's farmers on behalf of the committee, saying the decision to create the festival further showcases that work concerning agriculture, rural areas and farmers is a top priority and holds a fundamental position.
Noting China is a large agricultural country, Xi said agriculture is the foundation of the country and of the people's security.
He encouraged moves to stimulate farmers' enthusiasm, initiative and creativity so as to fully implement the rural revitalization strategy, win the tough battle against poverty and accelerate the modernization of agriculture and rural areas.
Xi recalled the significant role of rural reforms 40 years ago in China's reform and opening-up process, saying today's China should break new ground for urban-rural integration and modernization by vitalizing rural areas.
The overall goal of the strategy is to modernize agriculture and rural areas, and it is the overarching principle of the strategy to prioritize the development of agriculture and rural areas, Xi pointed out.
He called for more effective measures to be taken in such areas as capital input and public services, and for agricultural officials to target areas of weakness in agricultural and rural development, and to help narrow the urban-rural gap.
Efforts should be made to make agriculture a promising sector, farming an attractive career and rural areas better able to provide comfortable and prosperous lives, Xi added.
The president also called for boosting investment in agricultural and rural infrastructure, speeding up the connectivity of urban-rural infrastructure, and promoting two-way free flow of talent, land and funding between urban and rural areas.
Winning the battle against poverty is a high-priority task of the rural revitalization strategy, he said.
Saying talented people are the foundation of rural revitalization, Xi stressed that more effort should be made to motivate the vitality of talented people in rural areas and encourage more talented people in cities to launch startups and innovation in the countryside.
In implementing the rural revitalization strategy, the focus should be on quality instead of scale and speed, Xi said.
The market should play a decisive role in promoting a new round of rural reforms, while the government plays a better role in such areas as planning and guidance, policy support, market regulation and legal guarantees, he added.
More effort should be made to resolve issues pertaining to farmers' concerns and interests to create a stronger sense of fulfillment, happiness and security for rural people, Xi said.
He called for a long-term mechanism to ensure sustainable development in carrying out the rural revitalization strategy, saying grandiose projects must be rejected.