New Countryside Construction of Beijing Realizes Six “Advances” in China
Since the initiation of the New Socialist Countryside Construction, Beijing has been advantageous in the country from six perspectives, including the government purchasing ecological service, the accomplishment of the “Every Village” project, the complete cover of five infrastructures, the funding guarantee for village institutions, the integration of urban and rural social guarantee system, and the integrated development of the primary, the secondary, and the tertiary industries.
Early in 2004, Beijing had allocated funding on ecological services. In 2008, Beijing released a policy of providing subsidy for ecological plants, according to which the farmers in Beijing would receive subsidy on growing wheat and pasture. And since 2010, the government has started to provide allowance for the ecological benefits of collective-owned ecological forest. All of these measures have effectively promoted the ecologic level in the suburbs.
The “Every Village” project covers different aspects such as road, transportation, information network, and public service facilities. In the last five years, the construction of roads in counties and villages of Beijing has exceeded the expected length by 28%, and the operation mileage in the suburbs is nearly 20 million kilometers. Every district is connected to the highway, and every village is linked to pavements and buses. At the same time, the goal of establishing cultural facilities, fitness facilities, and medical care centers in every village has also been realized.
The completed construction of infrastructures refers to the construction of facilities for water, power, road, gas, heat, garbage treatment, greening, housing, cooking, toilet, and yards. The total investment on these infrastructures in Beijing has been about 21 billion yuan in the last five years. And five special projects, including hardening of paths and greening in the neighborhood, regeneration of water supply pipe network, treatment of sewage water, treatment of garbage, and reform of toilets have been implemented. At the same time, the “three goals” projects, i.e., keeping farmers warm, enlightening the countryside, and recycling agricultural resources, have also been conducted. With the accomplishment of the eight projects, farmers are able to live a new life with “smooth roads, clean water, sanitary toilets, energy-saving heatable brick beds, and warm housing.”
In 2006, Beijing was the first to enforce the funding guarantee system for the work of village institutions in the countryside. At a standard of 80 thousand to 150 thousand yuan for each village, the fund is allocated for the public goods provision at the village level in Beijing. Moreover, the annual activity fund for each member of the Chinese Communist Party, which is no less than 100 yuan, is guaranteed. As a result, the effective operation of the fundamental institutions in the countryside is realized.
In 2009, Beijing took the lead in setting up an integrated urban-rural social guarantee system, in which all the citizens with Beijing Hukou who are not covered by the insurance for enterprise employees or the state retirement system of the administrative and public institutions will be covered by the urban-rural resident endowment insurance. Besides the monthly return of accumulated principal and interest to citizens’ personal accounts, the government will fund 280 yuan to each account monthly as fundamental endowment insurance. In addition, the government will also provide 200 yuan each month as a common wealth benefit to men over 60 years of age and women over 55 years of age who are not covered by any social endowment insurance. Since 2009, the subsidy for funerals has also been unified in the city and countryside of Beijing.
Moreover, Beijing has begun exploration on modern municipality agricultural development, which integrates the primary, the secondary, and the tertiary industries. The new functions of the agriculture for production, living, and ecological development are more and more outstanding. The development of facility agriculture, seeds agriculture, recycling agriculture, leisure agriculture, and exhibition agriculture, together with their extended high-grade demonstration functions, has gradually become the feature industry of world city construction, the foundation for ecological livability, and the fundamental guarantee for satisfaction of high-level demands and emergent supply.