At a panel discussion with deputies from east China's Shandong Province during the First Session of the 13th National People's Congress on March 8, President Xi Jinping said the quality of socialist modernization and a moderately prosperous society is determined by agricultural competitiveness and by rural environment and incomes. He urged local authorities to reenergize rural industries, increase incomes of its residents, alleviate poverty, and enrich rural life.
The reform and opening-up program initiated in 1978 injected fresh impetus into China’s agriculture, leading to increased grain output and laying a solid foundation for progress in other areas.
In the early 1990s, as reform and opening up gained momentum, more foreign investment poured into China. Given improved efficiency in the agricultural sector, surplus rural laborers migrated to cities for jobs. In this context, the development gap between rural and urban areas widened.
The Chinese Government has been committed to resolving these disparities. For the past 15 years, the annual "No.1 central document" has been devoted to addressing issues concerning agriculture, rural areas and farmers.
The 19th National Congress of the Communist Part of China (CPC) held in October 2017 put forward a rural vitalization strategy. Later, a three-step timetable was adopted:
--Important progress is to be made by 2020, when the institutional framework and policy system will have taken shape.
--Decisive progress is to be achieved as of 2035, when the modernization of agriculture and rural areas will become a reality.
--By 2050, China's rural areas will be characterized by strong agriculture, beautiful countryside and well-off farmers.
During the panel discussion, Xi highlighted better governance and the strengthening of CPC leadership in the countryside to establish a modern administrative system for rural society. The vitalization strategy should be carried out step by step, and "vanity projects" should be completely eradicated, he said.
Xi asked authorities to respect the wishes of rural residents and turn their desire for a better life into a force driving rural rejuvenation, protecting their fundamental interests and bringing them common prosperity.
Rural revitalization is essential for China to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. In the years ahead, rural development will be topping the Chinese Government's national agenda.
Copyedited by Rebeca Toledo
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