Beijing Announces “Historic Shift” for China’s Three Rural Issues Policy, Hails Completion of Poverty Alleviation Mission

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The Chinese central government has issued a new directive in relation to its “Three Rural Issues”(三农) policy that analysts say marks a “historic shift” for the developmental framework, with a move from poverty alleviation towards rural revitalisation.

Beijing officially issued the “Opinions on Comprehensively Driving Rural Village Revitalization and Accelerating the Modernization of Agricultural and Agricultural Villages” (中共中央 国务院关于全面推进乡村振兴加快农业农村现代化的意见) on 21 February.

The Opinions are the 18th “central government no. 1 document” concerning the Three Rural Issues policy that has been issued by Beijing since the turn of the 21st century.

The Opinions outline over 20 measures across four areas, including “effectively connecting the consolidation of poverty alleviation progress with rural village revitalisation; accelerating the modernisation of agriculture, vigorously implementing campaigns for the development of rural villages, and strengthening the work of the party in relation to the Three Rural Issues.”

Domestic analysts say the measures mark a “historic shift” in the focus of the Three Rural Issues policy, pointing in particular to the establishment of five-year transition periods for counties that have already successfully implemented poverty-alleviation measures.

According to analysts this transition period entails a “shift from concentrated resource support for poverty alleviation drives towards comprehensive driving of rural village revitalisation.”

The Opinions also call for:

  • Ongoing expansion of employment and industry support in rural areas;
  • Strengthening of dynamic assistance for low-income populations in rural villages, and the implementation of tier and category-based assistance;
  • Effectively performing organised labour export work and expanding the replacement of relief with work;
  • The establishment of a series of major regional and cross-regional infrastructure projects.

“We have already comprehensively completed the mission of poverty alleviation, yet still have a long way to go towards the comprehensive revitalisation of rural villages and achieving the modernisation of agriculture,” said Professor Zhu Qizhen (朱启臻) from the China Agricultural University.

“This year the [new policy] proposes better targets, to achieve the dovetailing of poverty alleviation drives with rural village revitalisation.”

The Opinions state that by 2025 “agricultural and rural village modernisation will achieve major progress, basic urban and rural public services will all see marked increases in their levels, and the rural village ecological environment will achieve major improvements and upgrade.”

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