China to deepen rural reforms
Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the central rural work conference in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 23, 2013. China pledged to deepen rural reforms and step up agricultural modernization. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)China has pledged to deepen rural reforms and step up agricultural modernization, according to a statement issued after a central rural work conference which ended on Tuesday.
The two-day meeting was attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and senior leaders Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli.
Central government policy on the countryside, agriculture and farmers has been effective in arousing enthusiasm in the new century and has boosted the development of agriculture and the countryside, the statement said.
Reform started in the countryside and rural growth has contributed much to the leap from being barely fed and clothed to moderate prosperity.
"When defining a moderately prosperous society, the key is to observe the condition of farmers," the statement said.
It must be noted that agriculture is still the weakest among the four pursuits of industrialization, informatization, urbanization and agricultural modernization. The countryside still lags behind, the statement said.
"If China wants to be strong, agriculture must be strong. If China wants to be beautiful, the countryside must be beautiful. If China wants to get rich, the farmers must get rich," the statement said.
Tackling problems in the countryside should be at the core of work of the central authorities, the statement said.
FULL BOWLS OF RICE
Populous as China is, the task of simply feeding the people remains a high priority, the statement said.
"The bowls of the Chinese, in any situation, must rest soundly in our own hands. Our bowls should be filled mainly with Chinese grain. Only when a country is basically self-sufficient in food, can it take the initiative in food security and grasp the overall situation for economic and social growth," it said.
China has set a red-line guarantee that arable land never shrinks to less than 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares). The line should be strictly followed, the statement stressed.
To ensure the farmers profit from grain planting and the key production bases are active in encouraging farmers to plant grain, more efforts should be made to link agricultural subsidies with grain output, it said.
IRREPLACEABLE RURAL FAMILIES
To stick to the central authorities' rural policies, the first lies in the basic rural management system.
Rural land is owned by the peasantry collectively and this is the "soul" of the rural basic management system, the statement read.
Collective land should be contracted by rural families, namely members of the collective economic organizations.
No other party can substitute the rural family status in contracting land and no matter how the right to contract for management is transferred, the right to contract collective land belongs to rural families, it said.
"The subjects of the rights to contract for management will grow apart from the subjects of the rights to manage. This is the new trend for China's agricultural production relations," the statement stressed.
The rural basic management system must improve
The rural land management rights transfer, land concentration and scale land use should move in proportion to urbanization and changes of rural labor, as well as technological progress and social service in agriculture.
SAFER FOOD, BETTER VILLAGES
The government has vowed to improve agricultural product quality and food safety. The environment where agricultural products grow will be improved, the statement said.
If any farmland or water is seriously polluted, the area should be taken out of use, and supervision should be stepped up on food safety.
The government has also pledged to enrich the peasantry and take care care of their children, women and the aged left behind in villages, as many of their families might be working in cities.
"Soil culture" shall not be ruptured, as villages were sources for the Chinese traditional civilization and the countryside shall by no means turn into "desolate villages, left-behind villages or hometowns alive only in memory," the statement said.
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