Xi Jinping delivers speech at central rural work conference

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The annual central rural work conference was held from December 23 to 24 in Beijing. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Chinese president, and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), attended the conference and delivered an important speech. He stressed that it is a strategic plan the CPC Central Committee has made to advance rural revitalization across the board and accelerate the building of a strong agriculture, with a view to building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects.

He emphasized that a country must first strengthen agriculture to make itself strong, and only when agriculture is strong can the country be strong. Without strong agriculture, there won”t be a great modern country. The socialist modernization won’t be complete without agricultural and rural modernization.

He also called for efforts in areas relating to agriculture, rural areas and farmers, with rural revitalization as the focus, to vigorously promote the modernization of agriculture and rural areas, and speed up the building of a strong agriculture.

Li Keqiang presided over the conference. Li Qiang, Wang Huning, Han Zheng, Cai Qi and Ding Xuexiang attended the conference.

Xi pointed out that a strong agriculture is the foundation of a great modern socialist country. Agricultural development is essential to meeting the people’s needs for a better life, achieving high-quality development and consolidating the foundation of national security. The efforts to build a strong agriculture should reflect Chinese characteristics, and be based on China’s national conditions, on the reality of more people and less land, on the historical background of agricultural civilization, and on the requirements of harmonious coexistence between man and nature.

He said we should go on our own path rather than simply copying the model of any foreign country. We should rely on our own strength to secure food supply, rely on the two-tier management system to develop agriculture, develop ecological low-carbon agriculture, continue our farming civilization, and solidly promote common prosperity.

Currently, we should stay focused on the goal of building up China’s strength in agriculture, scientifically plan and advance the work related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers, strengthen top-level design, and formulate plans for building a strong agriculture. We should make steady move, proceed step by step, and do more to lay the foundation that can deliver long-term benefits. We should adopt measures suiting local conditions, emphasize practical results, and base our work on China’s resource endowment and stages of development, so as to address the most pressing problems in agricultural and rural development that farmers feel most strongly about, instead of engaging in vanity projects that are divorced from reality.

Xi stressed that ensuring the stable and secure supply of grain and important agricultural products has always been the top priority of building up China’s strength in agriculture. We will formulate implementation plans for a new round of actions to increase China’s grain production capacity by 50 million metric tons. Special attention must be paid to farmland and seeds, ensuring that the red line of 120 million hectares must be kept as far as the country’s total area of farmland is concerned. Efforts will be made to gradually develop all permanent basic cropland into high-standard farmland, make real progress in the campaign to invigorate the seed industry, and keep major varieties firmly in our own hands. Work must be done to refine the mechanisms for ensuring the incomes of grain growers and for compensating major grain-producing areas. To ensure food security, efforts must be made to both increase production and reduce food losses, continuing to further prevent food waste. An all-encompassing approach to food must be adopted to build a diversified food supply system, and develop food sources in multiple ways. Assessment of officials’ performance must be tightened to urge all localities to shoulder their responsibility for securing food security.

Xi noted that advancing rural revitalization across the board is an important task in building a strong agriculture in the new era, so we need to shift human resources, material resources, and financial support to it.

Work must be done to revitalize the five areas including industries, competent personnel, culture, ecosystems, and organizations in rural areas in a coordinated manner, with emphasis placed on major fields and deficiencies addressed. The development of industries is the most important on the agenda of rural revitalization, and supportive policies must be implemented to the letter in this regard. Particular attention should be paid to local specialties. By relying on special agricultural and rural resources, benefits should be sought through developing a variety of agricultural functions, tapping multiple types of value in rural areas and integrated development of primary, secondary, and tertiary industries. Leading enterprises must be further developed, weak links of all types strengthened, all forms of business boosted and self-developed brands established, so as to promote the whole-chain upgrading of rural industries and their market competitiveness as well as capabilities of sustainable development.

To consolidate and expand the achievements of poverty alleviation is the bottom line of comprehensively promoting rural revitalization. We will continue to make sure that relevant departments fulfill their responsibilities, align supportive policies and implement measures for the people and areas that have been lifted out of poverty, and resolutely prevent entire villages and townships from returning to poverty. We will continue to make increasing farmers’ incomes the central task of the work concerning agriculture, rural areas and farmers, and do everything possible to expand channels for farmers to increase incomes and get richer.

Xi stressed the need to rely on science and technology as well as reform to speed up the building of a strong agriculture. We should focus on the frontier of world agricultural science and technology, vigorously promote the level of country’s agricultural science and technology, and accelerate the realization of agricultural science and technology self-reliance and self-strengthening at higher levels. Efforts will be made to improve the overall effectiveness of the innovation system, and address prominent problems such as lack of coordination and cooperation, low levels of duplication, and low conversion rates.

He said that it is imperative to take breakthroughs in key and core agricultural technology and sector’s urgent need as the guide, focus on fields such as fundamental technologies, core germplasm resources, as well as key agricultural machinery and equipment, and give full play to the strengths of the new system, which can mobilize the resources nationwide on key national projects, to integrate superior scientific research resources at all levels and of various types, strengthen the dominant position of enterprises in scientific and technological innovation, and establish an agricultural scientific and technological innovation system with distinct echelon, coordination and cooperation, and moderate competition.

He also called for building national strategic strength in agricultural science and technology and support the development of major platforms for innovation in agriculture. To deepen rural reform, we must continue to focus on properly handling the relationship between farmers and land. We must align strengthening the foundation of collective ownership, safeguarding and realizing the rights of farmers’ collective members with activating resource elements, so as to improve the separation of rights and interests over rural collective resources and assets, and make sure farmers can share more of the fruits in the reform.

Solid work should be done to extend the contract period for another 30 years, so as to ensure the original contract rights of most farmers remain stable and are smoothly extended. It is necessary to develop appropriately scaled agricultural operations, support the development of new business entities such as family farms and farmers’ cooperatives, speed up the improvement of the socialized service system for agriculture, and provide good services to and support small household farmers.

Trials for the reform of rural allocation of homestead must be carried forward in a steady and prudent manner, and further progress must be made in the pilot programs for market-based transfer of use right to rural collective land designated for business-related construction, and the mechanism be optimized for the distribution of value-added benefits of land. Work will be done to remove the institutional barriers that hamper the equal exchange and the two-way flows of urban and rural production factors, so as to ensure that more development factors and services are available in rural areas, so that the urban-rural dual economic structure will be first broken in counties.

Xi stressed that rural modernization is a must for and prerequisite to building up China’s strength in agriculture, and that developing a beautiful and harmonious countryside that is desirable to live and work in is essential in this regard. We must make coordinated efforts to promote modernization of both agriculture and rural areas, and ensure that rural areas are upgraded from inside out and in both form and essence. With the target of “ensuring basic modern living conditions in rural areas,” development projects must be well organized and implemented to especially speed up the construction of public service facilities in areas such as anti-epidemic, elderly care, education and healthcare. Efforts should also be made to ensure that the rural infrastructure is complete, public services are more accessible and the environment is more desirable to live in, so that farmers can enjoy a modern life where they are now.

Work will be done to improve the rural governance system under the Party’s leadership and featuring the combination of self-governance, rule of law and rule of virtue, so as to make rural areas not only full of vitality but also stable and orderly.

Progress in culture and ethics should be promoted in rural areas and so should the education in the rule of law and transformation of the established traditions. Farmers should be guided to handle affairs in accordance with the law, seek law-based solutions in case of trouble, solve problems and settle disputes in accordance with the law, and consciously abide by village rules and regulations .

Xi said that the Party’s leadership must be firmly maintained over work related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers, the leadership system and working mechanism must be optimized, providing a strong guarantee for accelerating the building of a strong agriculture.

He emphasized the principle that Party secretaries at province, city, county, township and village levels must be held accountable for the work of rural revitalization, and a county’s Party secretary must play well the role of a “frontline commander”.

Training of officials related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers should be intensified, and their work capability and conduct be improved so that a team of officials, who are politically committed, competent to meet the requirements of the new era and capable to lead the building of a strong agriculture, will be built.

Training of local officials must be combined with introduction of competent officials from other localities, particular importance should be attached to the training of village Party secretaries and those in charge of new agricultural businesses, so as to comprehensively improve the quality and literacy of farmers, and better foster and use local talents.

Competent personnel should be introduced from other localities. University graduates, able people, migrant workers and entrepreneurs should be guided to go or return to rural areas in an orderly manner, and work should be done to relieve them of their family worries so that they are willing to stay and start their own businesses.

Work should be done to improve village-level organizations led by the village Party committees and see to it that primary-level Party organizations in rural areas play a key role in ensuring the exercise of the Party’s leadership.

When presiding over the conference, Li Keqiang pointed out that General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important speech is of guiding significance, as it systematically explained a series of major theoretical and practical issues in building a strong agriculture, accelerating the modernization of agriculture and rural areas, and in comprehensively promoting rural revitalization. The speech has clarified work objectives and tasks, strategic priorities and the main direction that related to agriculture, rural areas, and farmers, Li said. Xi incorporated in his speech the implementation of the spirit of the 20th CPC National Congress and the vision for the overall situation of building a great modern socialist country in all aspects, Li said.

Li said that the speech must be thoroughly studied and understood and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era be maintained as the guide to combine the theme of the conference and the working practice, and implement well the plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council.

Hu Chunhua delivered a concluding speech, during which he said that Xi’s remarks are a sound guide and an action program for building up China’s strength in agriculture, accelerating the modernization of agriculture and rural areas, and advancing the rural revitalization across the board.

Hu also stressed the importance of comprehensively studying and implementing General Secretary Xi’s important remarks on work related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers, so as to resolutely accomplish the basic tasks in this regard, pay close attention to the production of grain and important agricultural products, consolidate and expand the achievements in poverty alleviation, make solid progress in building rural areas that are comfortable and beautiful to live in, and fit for work, expand channels for farmers to increase their incomes, and strengthen and improve rural governance.

Party secretaries at the provincial, municipal, county, township and village levels must work together to proceed from local realities, act in accordance with the law of agricultural and rural affairs, respect the will and initiative of farmers, and constantly improve the effectiveness of their work, Hu said. At present, a good job must be done on the prevention and control of COVID-19 in rural areas, local leaders must be held accountable for work in this regard. COVID-19 prevention services for returned migrant workers and college and secondary school students must be strengthened, medical care for the rural elderly, young, sick, disabled, pregnant and other key groups must be boosted, and so that health of rural residents and normal order for their production and life can be safeguarded to the greatest extent.

The draft document “Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council on Comprehensively Promoting the Key Work of Rural Revitalization in 2023” was discussed at the conference.

Those who also attended the conference include some members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, secretaries of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, leading members from the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the State Council, and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Also present at the conference were members of the Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group, leading officials from different provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities, cities specifically designated in the state plan and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, as well as leading officials in charge of agricultural and rural affairs, leading officials from relevant departments of central and state organs, relevant people’s organizations, relevant financial institutions and enterprises, and relevant departments of the CMC. It was a video and telephone conference, and provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities set up sub-venues.



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