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Building New Socialist Countryside as Major Historic Task amid China’s Modernization
On the Fifth Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee of CPC which was held in October 2005, the construction of new socialist countryside was promoted to a new strategic level of being “the major historic task amid China’s modernization” with the general goals of “developed production, well-off life, civilized atmosphere, clean environment, and democratic administration”. As the concrete articulation of the policy of “industry repaying agriculture and city supporting countryside”, it is another important decision of the Central Government under the circumstances that the development of an well-off society enters a critical period of time, the economic development enters a new stage of industry stimulating agriculture and urban development driving rural redevelopment, and the concept of establishing a humanistic and harmonious society has been commonly recognized. Moreover, it is also a specific measure to coordinate the development of the urban and rural areas, as well as the detailed interpretation of the principle of “industry repaying agriculture and city supporting countryside”. In the Fourth Session of the 10th National People’s Congress held in March 2006, Premier WEN Jiabao listed the construction of new socialist countryside as the first of the six key tasks, with the construction objectives being clarified in the Outline of “11th Five-year Plan”, which was reviewed and approved later on the meeting.

According to the Outline, a series of key indexes are fixed for the development of agriculture and countryside in the five years from 2006 to 2010, including to maintain the farmland reserve of 120 million ha, to raise the effective utilization coefficient of agricultural irrigation water from 0.45 to 0.5, to promote the comprehensive grain production capacity to 500 million tons, to transfer 45 million rural laborers into urban ones, to raise the urbanization rate to 47%, and to increase farmers’ net income by 5% annually.

Meanwhile, it is required that, in terms of developing modern agriculture, the comprehensive agricultural production capacity should be promoted with focus on the adjustment of agricultural structure, the construction of agricultural service system and the improvement of the circulation system of the countryside. In terms of increasing farmers’ income, the potential increase of agricultural revenue should be explored, while the non-agricultural income be increased and the policies of increasing income and alleviating burden be completed. In terms of ameliorating the environment in the countryside, the construction of infrastructure and the protection of environment should be stressed, while the causes of medical care and social insurance be actively developed. In terms of fostering the new type of farmer, the development of compulsory education should be accelerated, while the skill training for rural labor be enhanced and the cultural development be boosted. In terms of increasing the input in agriculture and countryside, the national revenue allocation structure should be adjusted, while the focus of fiscal investment be transferred to agriculture and countryside and both the financial capital and the social funds be encouraged to flow into agriculture and countryside. In terms of deepening the rural reform, the operation system of unified management combined with independent management based on the household contract should be further stabilized and improved, while the reforms of taxation and charge be consolidated so as to facilitate the comprehensive reform in an all-round way, the financial reform be intensified so as to establish a healthy financial system, and the reform of land expropriation system be accelerated so as to complete the rational compensation mechanism for farmers.

Moreover, the Outline defines 14 kinds of key projects of building new socialist countryside. They are the large-scale production bases of grain, cotton and oil and the high-quality food industry, the fertilizing land project, the plant protection project, the extension and renovation of large-scale irrigation networks and the renovation of the large-scale drainage pump stations in the four provinces in Central China, the well-bred seed and stud project of breeding industry, the animal immune system, the quality safety examination and inspection system of agro-products, the drinking-water safety in the countryside, the road construction in the countryside, the marsh gas project in the countryside, the projects of electricity supplying to villages and green energy county, the medical and hygienic service systems in the countryside, the family planning service system in the countryside, and the immigration and employment of rural labor, all of which are closely related to the most direct and realistic benefits of the public that are mostly concerned with, as well as to the consolidation of the fundamental role of agriculture and the amelioration of the backward conditions in the countryside of China.

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