|Xi urges intensified efforts to advance rural reform|
President Xi Jinping has called for more to be done to advance rural reform to ensure that measures result in a solid agricultural sector and improve the well-being of farmers.
Xi made the remarks when he presided over a symposium on rural reform in a village in Fengyang County in east China's Anhui Province.
Addressing the symposium with local officials on Monday in Xiaogang Village, often referred to as the birthplace of China's rural reform, Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said that work related to agriculture, rural areas, and farmers is the CPC's top priority.
In 1978, some farmers in Xiaogang secretly signed an agreement to divide their People's Commune farmland into family plots -- an ingenious idea, albeit illegal at that time. Each plot was to be worked by a family. Their crops were then divided between the government, the collective and the families themselves.
This process resulted in bumper grain production and the initiative was soon rolled out across the country, creating a system that combined unified and decentralized management. Xi called the system "an important corner stone" for the CPC's rural policy.
There have been great changes in the countryside since the fledgling days of reform and opening up in China. Farmers now have brighter prospects thanks to socialism with Chinese characteristics, Xi said.
Xi underscored the important role that agriculture, farmers and the countryside play -- as they are integral to the country's modernization and to the goal of building a moderately prosperous society.
The core of deepening rural reform is upholding and improving the basic rural operation system, sticking to collective ownership of rural land, adhering to the fundamental status of household management in agriculture, and insisting on keeping land-contracted relationship stable, said Xi.
He called for more pilot programs that explore contracted rural land-use rights, noting that the separation of contract rights and operation rights had been a milestone in rural reform.
The key to the program is to respect the wishes of farmers, protect their rights and interests, and ensure grain production, Xi said.
Xi explained that developing modern agriculture, increasing farmers' income and building a new socialist countryside are the three major tasks in rural development.
More should be done to improve the modern agricultural industrial system, along with the production and management systems, Xi added.
He urged CPC officials at all levels to help farmers find ways to solve their problems and increase their income while maintaining rural stability.
Farmers are scattered across China's vast countryside and conditions vary from place to place, Xi said. To improve farmers' livelihoods, education, health care, elderly care and housing should all improve, the president said.