2024-02-07 09:33:23 source: CGTN
People take part in an open-air banquet during a Chinese New Year culture festival in Lianhua Town in Jiande City, east China's Zhejiang Province, January 28, 2024. (Photo/Xinhua)
On February 3, 2024, the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the State Council of China jointly issued the "Opinions on Learning and Applying the Experience of the Thousand Villages Demonstration and Ten Thousand Villages Renovation Project to Effectively Promote the Comprehensive Revitalization of Rural Areas." This is the 21st "No. 1 central document" of China which has been guiding the overall work on agriculture and rural development since the turn of the century, reflecting the continuous and consistent focus of the central government on rural revitalization.
What has been particularly addressed this year is that for the first time, the "Thousand Villages Demonstration and Ten Thousand Villages Renovation" (from now on referred to as the Project), as a typical case, has been written into the "No.1 central document." Although there were many local reform experience examples written into the previous "No.1 central documents," it is the first time that the Project from the Zhejiang experience has been fully reflected in the title of "No.1 central document." Why is it so special and what are its key values?
The Project is a major decision planned, deployed, and promoted by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, during his tenure (2002-2007) in Zhejiang Province as secretary of CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee, which focused on improving agricultural production, farmers' well-being and the rural environment. About 10,000 of the nearly 40,000 villages in Zhejiang Province were selected for comprehensive rural improvement, and about 1,000 central villages were developed into well-off demonstration villages.
Over the past 20 years, Zhejiang Province has consistently implemented the Project, achieving a series of remarkable results. The disposable income per capita of rural residents in Zhejiang Province has increased from 5,431 yuan ($754) in 2003 to 40,311 yuan ($5,600) in 2023, which is ahead of other provinces in China. The urban-rural income ratio has also narrowed from 2.43 in 2003 to 1.86 in 2023, indicating the lowest level of urban-rural disparity among all provinces in China. In recognition of the significance of the Project, the United Nations also honored Zhejiang Province with its highest environmental accolade, the Champions of the Earth Award, in September 2018.
How has the Project achieved such remarkable results? What experiences are there worth learning across the country?
Firstly, strong leadership and full support count the most. Zhejiang has established a progressing mechanism with the top leaders of the Communist Party and government supervising the Project. Targeting funds, municipal financial subsidies, as well as county-level financial budgets have been provided. Summit conferences are held annually to carry out the Project with the participation of provincial Party leaders and government officials. Meanwhile, regular recognition is given to outstanding collectives and individuals involved in the Project to create a strong atmosphere of learning, catching up, and striving for improvement and excellence.
An agricultural study tour base in Fengqiao Town in Zhuji, east China's Zhejiang Province, March 29, 2023. (Photo/Xinhua)
Additionally, the Zhejiang government always considers issues from the perspective of the rural population, and it actively promotes grassroots governance mechanisms such as the "local people's council," "ethical evaluation group," and "services group." It also establishes incentive mechanisms to encourage rural people to actively participate in public affairs.
Furthermore, Zhejiang Province has launched a detailed roadmap to achieve the planned progress. Local government starts with cost-effective projects such as centralized rural waste treatment and village environmental clean-up. It then advances to improve water and sanitation facilities, road construction, greening, and lighting. It further promotes industrial development, improves public services and embraces digitalization, following a successive approach to ensure that rural living environments are in harmony with local economic development.
Moreover, Zhejiang has implemented tailored approaches for diversified development. It takes account of the significant regional differences in rural areas, including uneven economic and social development and disparities in project implementation progress. It follows the development pattern of each village and combines local development levels, fiscal capacity, and farmers' acceptance levels to promote the construction of thousands of distinctive and livable rural areas.
Apart from that, clean waters and green mountains are just as valuable as gold and silver. Zhejiang adheres to the development concept and closely integrates village renovation with green environment construction. These efforts have contributed to increasing farmers' incomes and improving their living standards, which at the same time have promoted farmers' happiness and the construction of beautiful villages.
Last but not least, over the past two decades, Zhejiang has always regarded the Project as a priority task and has persisted in completing it. Zhejiang remained committed to the Project's goals and it avoided pursuing short-term achievements or "vanity projects."
A single flower does not make spring, while one hundred flowers in full blossom bring spring to the garden. On the occasion of the Chinese New Year, let us learn and apply the experience of the Project as a guide for achieving the comprehensive revitalization of rural areas, for gaining a beautiful livable and workable rural environment, and finally promote China's modernization through accelerating the modernization of agricultural and rural areas.
Source: Tide News
Editor: Tan Qikuan