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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion
Rural vitalization an arduous task
    2018-January-15  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Winton Dong

dht0620@126.com

DURING the 19th CPC National Congress in October last year, China pledged to build its rural areas with thriving businesses, pleasant living environments, social etiquette and civility, effective governance and prosperity.

To fully implement the spirit of the Party congress, China made public the timeline for vitalizing the country’s vast countryside at the annual Central Rural Work Conference which was held recently.

According to the timetable, national efforts to realize the strategy will be divided into three stages. It will see important progress by 2020 when institutional framework and policy support basically take shape. Decisive progress will be made as of 2035 when agricultural modernization will generally become reality. By the year 2050, all-around rural vitalization will feature strong agriculture, a beautiful countryside and wealthy farmers in the country.

The Party leadership and Central Government have set a time range as long as 32 years (from 2018 to 2050) to translate such a big strategy into reality. This means that rural vitalization is really an arduous task for China at present. Moreover, rural vitalization is crucial to the balanced development of China in the future. It should not and cannot be achieved in a hurried manner, but must be done with a greater emphasis on quality instead of speed.

Despite the fact that substantial progress has been made in rural work, China still faces the serious problem of a developmental gap between its east and west, and between its urban and remote areas in the countryside.

As a famous Chinese saying goes, “If you want to get rich, build a road first.” To win the battle against poverty, transportation authorities and local governments all over the country have been urged to further build, maintain, protect and manage rural roads as part of efforts to speed up rural modernization.

According to the statistics from the Ministry of Transport, a total of 1.28 million kilometers of rural roads have already been built in the past five years, and 99 percent of townships nationwide now have access to buses. Such infrastructure improvements have not only created more business opportunities and brought real benefits for remote areas, but have also helped the Party win the people’s hearts at the grass-roots level.

Rural vitalization does not necessarily mean that all farmers should always stick to farming as their primary means for making a living. After decades of development, Chinese farmers have long solved the problem of food and shelter. The next stage is to coordinate and balance urban and rural development. Under this circumstance, rural vitalization must take advantage of, instead of being contrary to, the country’s urbanization and industrialization process. According to different situations in different rural regions, vitalization measures should be precise and tailor-made. Generally speaking, farmers should be encouraged to turn their assets, including land use rights, usufructs and other operational assets, into shares and allotments in various ventures.

Based on the experiences of Western countries, it is an inevitable tendency that a working-aged and talented rural population will migrate to bigger cities for more opportunity, better living conditions and higher salaries. Such a tendency will, in turn, lead to the hollowing-out of rural areas. Since China’s reform and opening to the outside world in the 1980s, the country has been experiencing this vicious process. After large numbers of young people migrated to cities, many villages have turned out to be a living place only for the aged, minor and disabled.

When roads, water, power and other infrastructure facilities are ready, human resources are of great importance to guarantee the success of rural vitalization. For many years, China has taken pains to encourage talented young people to move to cities. Now, we must also take great pains to draw youngsters back to the countryside and start their businesses there.

Such a process takes time and money. It also needs preferential policies and the political wisdom of top decision-makers.

(The author is the editor-in-chief of the Shenzhen Daily with a Ph.D. from the Journalism and Communication School of Wuhan University.)

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