Solving issues relating to agriculture, rural areas and farmers has always had a central place on the work agenda of the Chinese Government as they directly concern the nation's stability and people's well-being.
The Central Rural Work Conference, convened in Beijing on December 28 and 29, 2017, has outlined tasks and targets for a rural vitalization strategy. Rural vitalization is one of the major aspects of developing a modernized economy, as stated in a report delivered to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Attending the two-day rural conference, President Xi Jinping summarized the achievements and changes in agriculture and rural areas over the past five years, expounded on the rural vitalization strategy and concrete requirements for the future.
The rural vitalization strategy requires the government to prioritize the development of agriculture and rural areas. To build rural areas with thriving businesses, pleasant living environments, improved social etiquette and civility, effective governance and prosperity, the nation needs to put in place sound systems, mechanisms, and policies for promoting integrated urban-rural development, and speed up the modernization of agriculture and rural areas.
Agriculture is the backbone of China, which has vast rural areas and a large rural population. China started rapid development when it launched reform in rural areas in 1978. But the development of rural areas has lagged behind rapid urbanization in the process of China's reform and opening up over the past 40 years.
Rural areas must catch up with the pace of China's economic and social development because agriculture is strategically related to the nation's food security and people's ever-growing needs for a better life. What's more, the development of rural areas plays an important role in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
Over the past five years, the Central Government has achieved progress in addressing issues relating to agriculture, rural areas, and rural people. But new problems emerge as social and economic development goes on. President Xi, also General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, indicated in his report to the 19th National Congress of the CPC that "as socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved."
"What we now face is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life," the report said.
Currently, the most prominent problem is the development gap between cities and rural areas in China. Vast rural areas have not fully enjoyed adequate development opportunities. New solutions and approaches are needed to solve new problems. The rural vitalization strategy has been mapped out prudently in response to current challenges. Now governments at all levels across the nation have started to work on implementing the rural vitalization strategy. It is expected that with good policymaking and the support of the people, the development goal for rural areas will be achieved on schedule.