Approaches to Rural Reform

This article briefly traces several historical moments of land reform in China, particularly the implementation of the household contract system, the emergence of township enterprises, and the use of forestland. From Beijing Review:

Thirty years ago, a reform in the countryside was the sounding bell for the start of China’s reform and opening up. Three decades later, the relationship among the state, rural collectives and farmers has been readjusted. The interests of farmers have been markedly expanded and are better protected, and the mode of development for agriculture and rural areas has been completely changed. Most importantly, the number of rural residents who live in absolute poverty has been reduced to 15 million from 250 million. Chinese farmers have made the leap from not having enough food and clothing to leading relatively comfortable lives.

The policy of land reform on the governmental level was set not too long ago (see CDT article). How the government will use China’s history of land reform to inform future policy-making remains to be seen.

Another article from Beijing Review details other measures in the new land reform movement.

China is moving heaven and earth to deliver long-awaited prosperity to its vast rural areas. The largest-ever reform strategy to revive the rural areas was just declared at the Third Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on October 9-12. An unmatched manufacturing boom has put the country on solid financial footing to bridge the rural-urban development gap that saps steam from the country’s sustainable growth trajectory.

According to the strategy, China will push forward with all-round rural system reforms, including a series of measures ranging from increasing farmers’ income and improving their social security to expanding policy support for agriculture and establishing a modern rural financial network.

Given the growing environmental crisis in the China’s urban areas, will the land reform policy take into consideration the environmental factors in the rural areas? An earlier CDT post highlights that the China’s rural areas are facing environmental crisis.

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October 22, 2008 2:48 PM
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Categories: Economy, Society