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SCIO briefing on 'No. 1 Central Document' 2019,February 21, 2019 Adjust font size:

February 21, 2019

Han Changfu, deputy head of the Central Rural Work Leading Group and minister of agriculture and rural affairs, introduces "No. 1 Central Document" and answers questions from reporters.

                  SCIO briefing on 'No. 1 Central Document' 2019 is held in Beijing, Feb.20,2019. [Photo by]

Hu Kaihong:

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to this press conference. This year's "No. 1 Central Document" entitled "Several Opinions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on Prioritizing the Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas to Address the Issues Relating to Agriculture, Rural Areas and Rural People" was released yesterday. Today, we are delighted to welcome Mr. Han Changfu, deputy head of the Central Rural Work Leading Group and minister of agriculture and rural affairs, to introduce this document and answer your questions. We also have with us Mr. Wu Hongyao, a member of the CPC Leading Group of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and director of the Secretariat of the Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group. Now, I'll give the floor to Mr. Han.

Han Changfu:

Ladies and Gentlemen, and friends from the press, good afternoon! Yesterday was the start of the "Rain Water" period, one of the 24 divisions of the solar year in the traditional Chinese calendar.

This was also the day when Xinhua News Agency released the "No.1 Central Document" of 2019, entitled "Several Opinions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on Prioritizing the Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas to Address the Issues Relating to Agriculture, Rural Areas and Rural People." Now, I would like to give you a briefing about it.

The CPC Central Committee with President Xi Jinping at its core has always been highly committed to the work on agriculture, the rural areas and rural people (known in Chinese under the name of "San Nong" work), and given top priority to these aspects in the Party agenda.

Last September, President Xi delivered an important instruction on advancing the "San Nong" work in 2019 and 2020 and on the drafting of the "No.1 Central Document" for this year. He stressed the importance to the master plan covering tasks essential to the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

Late last year, President Xi also issued an important written instruction to the Central Rural Work Conference. He acknowledged the achievements made in agricultural and rural development in 2018, highlighted the deep significance of the "San Nong" work, and identified the priorities forming the focus for 2019. His instruction set the tone and provided guidance for drafting the 2019 "No.1 Central Document" and the related work in 2019 and 2020. Premier Li Keqiang has also issued clear requirements for its successful performance.

In 2018, China recorded new achievements in agriculture and rural development, took firm steps to further advance poverty alleviation, and got off to a good start in implementing the Rural Revitalization Strategy.

Once again it was a bumper harvest year. Grain output reached 657.9 million tons, registering the seventh straight year above the 600 million ton-level. Sufficient supply of other important produce, including meat, eggs, milk, fruits, vegetables and fish, was also achieved

Farmers saw a steady income rise. The per capita annual disposable income of the rural population was 14,617 yuan, a gain of 6.6 percent in real terms after allowing for the price factor. This represented a higher growth rate than that achieved by the urban population.

Rural development took on a new look. The Three-Year Action Plan for Improving the Rural Living Environment is underway, and the first Chinese Farmers' Harvest Festival was successfully held.

All in all, there was steady progress in agriculture and rural development, delivering staunch support to the overall goal of sustainable and sound socioeconomic growth.

The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. It is a critical year to achieve the First Centenary Goal of securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and a historic juncture in finally winning battle of poverty alleviation and rolling out the Rural Revitalization Strategy. So, it is of particular significance to do well in the work related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers.

Amid an increase in downward economic pressures, and faced with a rapidly changing external environment and growing risks and challenges, we must hold firm to the strategic status of agriculture, the rural areas in general, and farmers, and enable all three to play a strong stabilizing role for further growth.

However, agriculture and the countryside in general still pose a daunting and demanding challenge in the drive to make China a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Efforts and resources must be pooled to make breakthroughs that ensure the commitments on rural reform and development goals are met. We also need to take preemptive actions to address risks and challenges, so as to lay the foundation for sustained, healthy economic growth and social stability, and realize the First Centenary Goal as planned.

Guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the "No. 1 Central Document" follows through on decisions made by the 19th National Congress of the CPC, the second and third plenary sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee, and the annual Central Economic Work Conference. It focuses on the rural revitalization strategy, identifies a must-do list in regard to the work on agriculture, the rural areas and rural people to achieve a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and also puts forward new requirements for rural reform and development reflecting the evolving situation at home and abroad.

The "No. 1 Central Document" is designed as a master plan on how to do well in regard to the work on agriculture, the rural areas and rural people, addressing priorities, weakness and essential points. This overall arrangement can be summarized in six aspects.

First, underlining the need for pursuing progress while ensuring stability.

For ensuring a stable market and sufficient supply, it seeks to strengthen the various policies and measures for developing agriculture especially grain production, and clearly specifies ways to stabilize the grain acreage and overall output. For achieving stable employment and increased farmers' income, it stresses the need to support rural industry, tap the employment potential of rural areas, and create more opportunities for rural residents to continue to work locally. For ensuring continued social stability and harmony, it emphasizes the need to increase welfare provisions for rural people, and strive to foster a healthy atmosphere of integrity, harmony and stability in the countryside.

Second, prioritizing implementation of the rural revitalization strategy.

Based on the timetable, roadmap and assignment book forming the backbone of the strategy, the document determines the annual and phased measures in implementing it in 2019, so as to promote fresh progress continuing in each succeeding year and increase the sense of happiness and gains for the rural population.

Third, emphasizing the accomplishment of critical tasks.

It once again underlines and sets priorities for winning the battle against poverty, ensuring food security and improving the rural living environment. In this regard, it details the measures and enhances accountability guiding all the efforts, investment and policy implementation to focus on must-do tasks to ensure all are completed on schedule.

Fourth, it highlights agricultural supply-side structural reform. In light of the guideline of consolidation, enhancement, improvement and unblocking, it lays out a clear plan for adjusting and optimizing the overall agricultural structure, developing rural specialty industries and promoting integrated development of the primary, second and tertiary industries. There is a strong focus on promoting reform in regard to supply-side agricultural restructuring for further advancement and deeper penetration.

Fifth, it highlights the critical role of rural Party branches. The Document underlines the need for further development and enhancement of rural community organizations across the board, and sets out the overall requirements, key tasks and safeguard measures for building strong and reliable community-level Party organizations throughout the rural areas.

Sixth, it highlights the policy orientation of prioritizing agricultural and rural development. It specifies in detail the institutional arrangement of a five-level Party secretary accountability system for rural revitalization, and stresses that implementation of the "four priorities" is of paramount importance and closely related to government performance evaluation. Finally, it further reinforces policy support.

To sum up, this year's No.1 Central Document is a master plan essential to the task of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and to the completion of the poverty alleviation work and implementation of the Rural Revitalization Strategy, enabling us to get off to a good start with rural reform in a new era after 40 years of reform and opening up. The No.1 Central Document features policies that are forward-looking, targeted and provide better guidance and we should fully carry it out.

The initiative of strengthening and empowering agriculture and rural areas was launched in 2019. We will resolutely implement policies concerning work related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers decided by the CPC Central Committee, and roll up our sleeves to work harder. We will make every endeavor to do well in work related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers, and maintain an encouraging momentum as paying tribute to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic China with outstanding achievements.

Thanks for listening to my briefing. Now, I would like to take questions from the press together with my colleague Mr. Wu Hongyao, Director of the Secretariat of the Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group.

Hu Kaihong:

Thanks to Mr. Han for his introduction. Now, the floor is open to questions. Please identify your media organization before asking questions.


As just mentioned, this year's "No. 1 Central Document" focuses on the implementation of tough tasks. Can you introduce what tough tasks mean and to what they specifically refer? Thank you.

Han Changfu:

This is a good question going to the heart of the document. By 2020, we will achieve our first centenary goal and complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. These are solemn commitments made by our Party to the entire population, and are tough tasks that we must accomplish within that timeframe as well. Therefore, this year's "No. 1 Central Document" focuses on the arrangements for handling these tough tasks.

In detail, the first tough task is to win the battle against poverty, which is the most important and urgent task in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. In this year's document, it occupies a very prominent position. We should focus on solving existing gaps in providing adequate food and clothing for poverty-stricken people and ensuring their access to compulsory education, basic medical services and housing. Secondly, we need to step up efforts to lift people out of poverty in areas suffering from this in a deep-rooted way, which is a very tough nut to crack. Thirdly, we are determined to prevent people from falling back into poverty, and connect our poverty alleviation work with the revitalization of rural areas. It is of the greatest importance to alleviate poverty through promoting industrial growth that can provide job opportunities and broaden the available channels for increased levels of income, and also directly and effectively link the poverty alleviation work with rural revitalization. Thus, promoting industrial growth in the countryside is an important measure in overall poverty alleviation.

Second, we will further promote grain production. This is always a top priority and the primary task in regard to agriculture and rural affairs. Sufficient food supply may serve as the ballast stone to cope with mounting economic downward pressure and increasing uncertainties and risks. This year's "No. 1 Central Document" specially emphasizes strengthening agriculture and promoting food production. The detailed requirements include maintaining the policies and measures that support grain production, ensuring a sown area of 1.65 billion mu (110 million hectares) for grain, and so maintaining stable grain output. We must ensure China's arable land area remains above the red line of 1.8 billion mu. We need to comprehensively implement the policies providing special protection for the designated permanent basic cropland, and continuously increase the grain production capacity. Moreover, the document stresses the goal of developing 800 million mu of high-standard farmland. This means that grain production continues to be regarded as a tough task.

Third, we will increase the income of farmers. By 2020, the annual per capita income of rural residents must be double that of 2010. That is one of the indexes signaling completion of the work for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. In recent years, the income of rural residents has been growing rapidly, and actually at a faster rate than that of urban residents for nine consecutive years. We must keep the trend of increasing income for rural residents in the coming two years. The document lays out detailed arrangements to foster the development of rural industries and diversify channels to increase the income of farmers.

Fourth, we will improve rural living environment. This is one of the key tasks during implementation of the rural vitalization strategy. We will do a good job in carrying out the Three-Year Action Plan for Improving Rural Living Environment so that the rural living environment can be markedly improved by the end of 2020. In this regard, we will thoroughly learn from Zhejiang that has done a good job in its village environment demonstration and improvement initiative. This focuses on waste and sewage treatment, a toilet revolution and a village facelift. Since villages across China differ in many ways, our efforts will proceed from reality and adapt to local conditions, and our guidance should be differentiated. We also have to carry out the task gradually and don't go beyond our abilities. We will ensure our efforts not only match the level of local economic development, but are also in line with local culture and customs.

Fifth, it is necessary to shore up the weakness in rural infrastructure and public services. Backward infrastructure and public services constitute the most visible sign of the urban-rural gap, and also one of the livelihood issues about which rural people most strongly complain. Therefore, in order to improve lives in the countryside, we should address the weakness as soon as possible. To this end, the document includes a village infrastructure development project expected to improve infrastructure in areas like drinking water, roads, power supply, housing, logistics and a modern information network. We will provide better public services such as education, medical care, sanitation, social security, culture and sport. We will strengthen pollution treatment and ecological conservation and promote green agricultural and rural development with a view to making China's villages highly livable, with picturesque scenery, blue skies and green spaces.

We also have tough tasks in other aspects that require more awareness of deadlines, better planning and coordination, detailed measures, and a strictly-observed accountability system for people at different levels, to ensure fulfillment on time and with the desired results.

I should say there are many tasks concerning agriculture, rural areas and rural people, but these are the critical ones. In light of China's goal to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, poverty alleviation is the most important element. It must be fully accomplished on time and with the desired results. Food security is our primary task, and we will guard the bottom line of keeping grain production from falling. The rural vitalization strategy is the overarching scheme under which we will keep on going in an all-round way with unremitting efforts. I think these are all things we will do vigorously and fulfill comprehensively this year and next. Thank you.

China News Agency:

I have two questions. First, more than a year has passed since the Rural Revitalization Strategy was rolled out. Can you elaborate on what progress has been made, what problems have been encountered in the implementation process, and how will you complete the key tasks in the start-up period? Second, for 16 consecutive years in the new century, the CPC central committee has focused on the issue of the work related to agriculture, the rural areas and the farmers in its No. 1 Central Document. Why should the central government continue to focus on this issue? What is the significance? Thank you.

Han Changfu:

The Rural Revitalization Strategy was a major strategy proposed at the 19th CPC National Congress, and was approved for inclusion in the Party Constitution. Over the past year, all localities have conscientiously implemented the central government's decision-making and arrangements in this regard, and worked hard to promote implementation with carefully-organized plans. Local governments have studied and formulated policy opinions for such implementation, and introduced their own plans accordingly. As we all know, in the second half of last year, the National Rural Revitalization Strategic Plan was released. In September, there was also a press release issued in this very place, detailing how all localities basically had formulated their supporting plans. It should be said that the mainframe for the implementation of the Rural Revitalization Strategy is basically established, and the timetable and tasks for promoting the strategy made clear. At the same time, in regard to the key areas and the key links, both central and local governments have developed a number of implementation plans, and set up a number of major projects and actions. Fresh progress has been made in such tasks as the development of rural industries and the renovation of human settlements. It can be said that the implementation of the Rural Revitalization Strategy has made a good start.

However, in regard to what you have asked, there are a number of problems still to be addressed. The development of agriculture and rural areas is obviously insufficient and imbalanced, and we need to address certain difficulties and problems during implementation of the rural vitalization strategy .

For example, cities and counties need to attach greater importance to rural vitalization, while the shortage of people, land and money should be fundamentally resolved. At the same time, while improving local infrastructure and people's livelihood, rural areas are incurring increasing debt. More to the point, a certain number of farmers remain less motivated.

Our next step must focus on the key tasks of implementing the rural vitalization strategy, ensuring they are better supported with resources and institutions. A great many measures have been specified in this year's "No. 1 Central Document" and the country's plan on its rural vitalization strategy issued last year. So far as I am concerned, there are four key aspects. First, we should carefully study President Xi's important remarks regarding agriculture, rural areas and rural people, with the theories as a guideline for us to implement the rural vitalization strategy in a concerted way.

Second, we will enhance the institutional support to ensure the five-level Party secretaries have their duties closely aligned with rural vitalization. Taking clear cut responsibilities, all officials involved will be evaluated, and the results of the evaluation will have a big say in deciding the overall level of official performance.

Third, we should follow the policies prioritizing development of agriculture and rural areas. We need to improve our top-level design, creating preferential policies for rural development and prioritizing the demand for competent officials, resources, funds and public services to address the shortage of people, land and money. Rural vitalization requires both strenuous efforts and great financial support.

Fourth, we should create a sufficient pool of talents dedicated to rural vitalization. Priority should be given to human resource development in rural areas, making headway in bringing talented minds together with technical and administrative support, at the same time, establishing teams constituting those expert in agriculture and passionate about rural areas and rural people.

The aforementioned are highlighted as our assignments in the next stage.

As to the second question, the "No. 1 Central Document" has focused on the work related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers for the 16th consecutive year. I think this sends out two messages. First, the CPC Central Committee has been attaching great importance to the work and showing great care for rural people, prioritizing the work on its agenda. Second, this year and the next form a decisive period for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and quite a few tough tasks must be fulfilled on regard to our work, especially issues relating to the poor regions. So, this year's "No. 1 Central Document" is of particular significance for the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and the achievement of the First Centenary Goal. Thank you.


I have two questions. First, the market is concerned about the plan to boost soybean planting and output mentioned in the "No.1 Document". Would you please detail this plan, for example, the targets of increasing soybean planting area and output? My second question is about the Sino-U.S. trade war. Since its inception, China has approved grain imports from new exporters. Will this diversification of imports continue after the Sino-U.S. negotiations are completed?

Han Changfu:

In regard to this question about soybean production and trade, I'd like to give the floor to Director Wu Hongyao.

Wu Hongyao:

The plan to boost soybean planting and output is an important measure to readjust agricultural supply-side structural reform, in particular the planting industry. We will enhance our efforts in following areas: first, to shore up the soybean planting area, and encourage farmers mainly in Northeast China and the North China Plain to get involved. Second, to accelerate scientific research into the development and selection of high-quality and high-yield varieties to tackle the key issues of improving soybean adaptability, output and quality. Third, to cultivate some new soybean production companies and new cooperative organizations through collaboration with the further development of the processing industry, and to deepen specialization in the soybean production and trade. The plan will mainly provide support in regard to technologies, structure and policy.

As to your second question about the soybean trade, China is a major importer of American soybeans, with the latter occupying about one-third of its total imports. The volume fell last year as a result of the trade friction. As was mentioned, China consumes around 110 million tons of soybeans each year, while its annual production is only 16 million tons. This means about 90% of its soybean needs rely on imports. We will open wider to the world, including increasing the openness of the agricultural sector to make good use of both domestic and foreign markets and resources. China's soybean market will remain open. We will allow the market and businesses get involved to decide the source of imports, and follow the general rules of economics. Our market is also open to the U.S.

Han Changfu:

I would like to add three points. First, China is a soybean producer with its own features and strengths. So, we will appropriately develop our own soybean industry based on our resource advantages and consumer needs. Second, China's reliance on soybean imports will remain despite the development of its own soybean production. As Mr. Wu has mentioned, China produces about 16 million tons of soybeans each year, but annual consumption amounts to 110 million tons, creating an import demand of around 90 million tons. Third, we will continue our soybean trade with other countries and diversify the sources of soybean imports. I believe China and the U.S. will continue to be important soybean trading partners. Thank you.

Farmers' Daily:

The No.1 Document of 2019 is entitled "Prioritizing the Development of Agriculture and Rural areas to Address the Issues Relating to Agriculture, Rural Areas and Rural People". And one of the six characteristics mentioned in Mr. Han's introduction highlights the policy orientation of prioritizing agricultural and rural development. Are there any specific requirements with regard to this aspect? Thanks.

Han Changfu:

The proposition of prioritizing agricultural and rural development is raised to meet the needs of overall development of the Party and the country, as well as to address the development gap between urban and rural areas, where inadequate development is apparent. It is a major policy that needs to be upheld for long-term. Hence, the Document puts forward requirements to master the policy orientation. As you have noted, the document is entitled "Several Opinions on Prioritizing the Development of Agriculture and Rural areas to Address the Issues Relating to Agriculture, Rural Areas and Rural People". Specifically, it emphasizes the "four priorities" put forward by President Xi Jinping.

First, priority in building a team of outstanding cadres. The excellent officials should be put on the front of the work related to agriculture, rural development and farmers' wellbeing, also known as "San Nong" work. Talented ones should work in the front line, while cadres who are familiar with the "San Nong" work over a long period should be included in local leadership development. We need to improve the system of training and managing cadres, in a bid to build a core team with deep knowledge of agriculture, and love for the rural areas and rural people.

Second, priority must be given to optimizing factors allocation. We need to break down barriers harmful to the population flow between urban and rural areas, and an equal exchange system. We should reverse the one-way flow of resources allocation. All kinds of factors, including land, talents, funding, technology and science should be led to flow into agriculture and rural areas, enabling them to give full play to their potential and vitality.

Third, priority has to be given to ensuring investment. We need to make sure that agriculture and rural areas are two priority aspects in fiscal and financial support. Efforts should be made to facilitate access to publicly-funded support, and to ensure that more revenues from sales of land rights are invested in agriculture and rural areas. In the past, we often took money from the rural areas to be used in urban areas. In future, emphasis should be given to investment and efforts focused on agriculture and rural areas.

Fourth, priority must be given to public services. We need to unify the standards and systems of basic public services provided in urban and rural areas. This means we should ensure that there is true fairness in this regard, so that the rural population can have access to public services at the same level as those in the urban areas.

Opinions on prioritizing the Development of Agriculture and Rural areas should be fully implemented in the "San Nong" work. We need to take the responsibilities of rural revitalization and "four priorities" on our shoulders and regard "San Nong" work as outstanding achievements in an official career. The implementation of the policies on modernization of agriculture and rural areas, as well as the "four priorities" should be made to ensure the "San Nong" work is fully guaranteed. Thanks.

China Daily:

This year marks the beginning of a new round of reform of rural affairs. And the land reform is a highlight of it. What are the key points and direction of the land reform in the future?

Han Changfu:

This year does indeed mark the start of a new round of reform of rural affairs. The No. 1 Central Document has arranged for its implementation. Handling relations between farmers and land remains the mainline of deepening rural reform. The land institutional reform should be used as a pivot to advance the rural reform. Generally speaking, the most important aspects are as follows.

First, the land contract relations should be stable and long-lasting. We should properly complete the land contract confirmation and registrations, grant the land contract certificates, and appropriately handle and resolve historical problems to place the land contract certificates in farmers' hands. Farmers' minds will be put to rest once these undisputable certificates are awarded. This work has been ongoing for five years since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and is nearly completed. We should accomplish the finishing touches this year. Meanwhile, research is underway to roll out supporting policies to extend the land contract rights for another 30 years after the second round of land contracts expires, which President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, announced in his report to the Party's 19th National Congress. We must act according to the central authority's requirements, and formulate supporting policies so as to ensure the new policies align with the old ones, achieving a smooth transition.

Second, we will continue to deepen rural land reforms in three aspects: land acquisition, market entrance of collectively-owned commercial land, and homestead institutional reform. The reform has been piloted for four years. We will review the sum of the pilot experience, and consolidate and expand reform achievements. As for those that have been successfully piloted, for instance the rural land appropriation and the market entrance of collectively-owned commercial construction land, we will improve the supporting policies after relevant laws are amended and promote the reform nationwide, in order to expedite the formation of a unified urban and rural construction land market.

We will continue to advance the reforms prudently, expand pilot reforms and enrich some reforms that have proven immature, such as the homestead institutional reform. For instance, we must explore effective ways to loosen control over rights to homestead and farmers' houses, so as to make better use of the homesteads and farmers' houses that have been left unused, thus attempting to increase farmers' income. We need to find methods to make that happen, as it is said there are many "hollow villages" with large numbers of unused homesteads and empty houses. Before that, we need to do some groundwork, for instance, organize investigation of homesteads and farmers' houses in these village to assess the basic information nationwide. We strive to finish this important work— the confirmation, registration and certification of usage rights for homesteads in village — by 2020.

Third, we must create new modes of business operations. We need to improve the legal, regulatory and policy systems to ensure the separation of the "three rights" regarding contracted land, and to cultivate two types of new agricultural business entities— the family farm and farmers' cooperative. We need to put policies in place to help the development of small farming households, to foster various kinds of social service organizations and to enhance the efficiency and improve the level of agricultural operations.

Of course, there are other tasks to be completed in the institutional reform of rural land. This reform is a sizeable process, so it must be advanced steadily and prudently. The No. 1 Central Document also stresses that the reform must defend the baseline, which means the rural land, which is collectively owned, should not be privatized; rural land should always be used for agriculture and farmers' interests, rather than for non-agricultural purposes; farmers' rights and interests over their land must be guaranteed, and giving up their contracted land and homesteads should not be made conditions for their becoming urban citizens. These baselines must be held. In brief, the new round of rural reform should be advanced with the deepening of land institutional reform, which can further release village's vitality. Thank you.


We note that the document proposes to promote standardized operation of the transfer of various rural property rights. What specific measures will the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs take in 2019? Thank you.

Han Changfu:

Reform of the rural property rights system is an important part of overall rural reform, which requires us to fulfill two tasks. First, that means making an inventory of assets, or, in other words, figuring out how many collective assets there are, including operational assets and non-operational ones. This work should be basically finished by the end of this year. The second aspect is pushing forward the pilot reform of the joint-stock cooperative system and establishing joint-stock cooperative organizations in rural areas. We need to figure out who owns these assets and how to manage and operate them, and establish a set of effective mechanisms featuring clear property rights and ownership. Th pilot reform program is expanding currently with a growing number of counties and cities across the country engaged. The reform also involves many policy-related factors. Now, urbanization and industrialization are accelerating, and a large number of farmers, namely members of collective economic organizations, are leaving the rural areas to work and carry on business, and even settle down in the cities. Great changes have taken place in rural areas, as well as among members of collective economic organizations. Therefore, the amount and ownership of collective assets has to be figured out. Moreover, the rural revitalization strategy is currently underway to increase farmers' income from property, and the reforms should also be promoted to revitalize rural resources. With the documents on the reform issued by the Central Committee, progress is being made in an orderly manner in fulfilling these two key tasks. We believe that, with gradual progress of reform, the vitality of rural areas will be further unleashed. Thank you.

Guangming Daily:

Rural governance is essential to the implementation of the rural revitalization strategy. Two parts of the five-point general requirement, namely social etiquette and civility and effective governance, are related to rural governance. My question is for Mr. Han. What policies does this year's "No.1 Central Document" offer to strengthen and improve rural governance? Thank you.

Han Changfu:

Thank you for your question. You are a very good learner. Effective governance is an important part of the five-point general requirement for rural revitalization. This is not only about boosting economic growth, but also promoting the all-round development of rural areas. Rural governance is critical to rural revitalization, as it concerns farmers' sense of happiness and security, law and order, as well as the foundation of Party's governance in rural areas. At present, there are still many problems in rural governance, especially at community-level. For example, in terms of social etiquette and civility, there has been a resurgence of bad marriage and funeral traditions, and a refusal to fulfill the requirements of filial piety; in some places, rural gangs are undermining farmers' sense of security and happiness; some community-level Party organizations in rural areas are weak, with lax discipline and being unqualified to serve and mobilize farmers; some farmers' self-governance organizations are also failing to play their due roles. Therefore, major policies have been formulated in this year's "No.1 Central Document" to improve the overall level of rural governance.

The first is to improve governance mechanisms in rural areas. We need to optimize the Party organization-led leadership institutions and working mechanisms that integrate self-governance, rule of law and rule of virtue, improve village-level consultation systems, and ensure that the people play the principal role in governance, so that rural areas can enjoy great vitality, harmony and good governance. Following the requirements made by the CPC Central Committee, we drafted policies to strengthen and improve rural governance to reinforce guidance in this key task.

The second is to strengthen the rural spiritual civilization construction. It is absolutely necessary to guard the rural ideological and cultural fronts, guide farmers to practice socialist core values, tap the excellent traditional culture of the countryside, refine rural concepts and customs through village rules and regulations, and replace old stereotypes with civilized rural customs.

The third is to build a peaceful village. It is necessary to further advance the special campaign against evils, resolutely investigating and dealing with harmful practices and corruption in rural areas, improve the mechanism for mediating and resolving disputes, and investigating and controlling hidden dangers to rural public security, so as to foster a healthy atmosphere of integrity, harmony and stability.

The fourth is to do a good job in building community-level Party organizations in rural areas. A solid foundation is the premise for future work. It is necessary to rectify resolutely any weakness and laxity in community-level Party organizations, select right leaders for them, strengthen and improve the leadership of the community-level Party organization for various organizations at village level, and strengthen the service functions. At the same time, it is very important to improve the funding mechanism for operation of village-level organizations, which is a key policy highlighted in the document. It is necessary to develop and strengthen the collective economy according to local conditions. Through these measures, we can give play to the critical role of rural Party branches, and improve rural governance capabilities and the supporting systems. It should be said that such tasks are still very arduous. Implementing the document can ensure that rural governance plays a key role in rural revitalization. Thank you.


At the end of last year, the central economic work conference put forward the principles for supply-side structural reform. Are there any important measures in the No. 1 Central Document concerning supply-side structural reform in the agricultural sector? Thank you.

Han Changfu:

In order to deepen supply-side structural reform in general and also in the agricultural sector, the central economic work conference set the following principles: Previous structural adjustments for cutting overcapacity, reducing excess inventory, deleveraging, lowering costs, and strengthening areas of weakness, should all be reinforced; micro market entities will be further motivated and energized; the levels of industrial chains will be improved; and the national economic cycle should be further facilitated. In the past two years, there was remarkable progress in supply-side structural reform in the agricultural sector. The mismatch between the supply and demand of agricultural products has improved substantially. For example, major progress can be seen in the reduction of the corn inventory, there has been a significant increase in green development and product quality. However, the main problem in agriculture still remains on the supply side, requiring further reform efforts. The No. 1 Central Document stresses the abovementioned principles. We must stick to the supply-side structural reform in line with the principles of promoting greener agriculture with better quality, and improve the branding of agricultural products as well as their uniqueness and specialty. We intend to deepen supply-side structural reform in greater detail so as to further promote high-quality agricultural development.

First, we will continue to improve various aspects of the agricultural structure. We will reinforce the corn structural adjustment by reducing excess inventory, lowering costs and strengthening areas of weakness. We will maintain a well-balanced pace of work to reduce the corn inventory, step up our efforts in reducing the rice stockpile, implement the plan to boost soybean planting and output, increase the supply of rare, green and quality agricultural products, adjust the product mix of basic food, cash, and fodder crops, raise the quality and performance of the livestock industry and promote the transformation and upgrading of the fisheries sector.

Second, we will make efforts to advance green development by promoting green and recycling production modes and launching campaigns to reduce use of fertilizers and pesticides. Last year, China achieved negative growth in use of both fertilizers and pesticides. We will continue to seek advances in this regard. Moreover, we will promote the recycling of agricultural waste. And we will also expand trials in using systems of crop rotation and fallow land.

Third, we will take strong measures to facilitate standardized production, brand building, and closer supervision of food safety. We will work to ensure the quality and safety of agricultural products and improve the supervisory mechanism, monitoring and traceability systems. In this way, we can promote an agricultural development pattern where the superior will be selected and the inferior eliminated, and the quality and branding will propel and bolster agricultural growth.

These are the major measures we will undertake to adjust the agricultural structure. We believe that, with stable total output and improving structure, the agricultural sector can achieve better quality, performance and greater competitiveness. Thank you.

China Co-operation Times:

The No.1 Central Document stresses the regulation of farmers' cooperatives and puts forward the establishment of a system to improve and support the development of farmers' cooperatives. Progress on developing cooperation among production, supply and marketing and credit cooperatives has been achieved in Zhejiang province. So, what's the next step in promoting such cooperation? And what kind of policies will be taken to support the development and regulation of farmers' cooperatives? Thanks.

Wu Hongyao:

To foster new types of agribusiness, we place importance on two aspects: farmers' cooperatives and family farms. The No.1 Central Document covers both, with stepped-up efforts to develop family farms, while regulating the development of farmers' cooperatives.

Farmers' cooperatives have achieved great progress and played a vital role in the economy. However, problems are emerging at the same time. According to the No.1 Central Document, farmers' cooperatives will pursue further development, while seeking to improve their regulation, so as to address such issues as "zombie cooperatives."

The supply and marketing cooperatives in Zhejiang province you mentioned form an important part in the farmers' cooperative movement, and development of the cooperative economy, which is highly valued by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. The central leadership has released opinions on deepening reform on supply and marketing cooperatives, now being implemented across the country. The complex cooperatives (including production cooperatives, supply and marketing cooperatives, as well as credit cooperatives) in Zhejiang province started quite early and have made positive progress. The complex cooperatives can be seen as a new direction nationwide. Exploration on how to develop them further is underway in different places. Besides the cooperatives in Zhejiang province, Shandong province is placing farmland under trusteeship, which is also an effective way forward.

To develop supply and marketing cooperatives, first, we need to focus on strengthening primary branches and guide them to focus on their original functions, inviting more individual farmers to participate. Second, we need to expand the business scope. The credit cooperatives can also be developed to promote cooperation on distribution and processing of agricultural products.

In a word, the development of cooperatives needs both support and regulation in order to give full play to their role in future. Thanks.

Han Changfu:

I agree with what Mr. Wu Hongyao has said in regard to your question. However, there is still one further point I would like to share with you. We have an important policy orientation to support and direct the development of farmers' cooperatives during the reform and revitalization of our countryside. We are a country where smallholder farming is in the majority, and if we want to have a market-based agriculture, we need to group smallholders together for them to venture in the market. Besides, modern agriculture needs to achieve economies of scale and this also makes it necessary for farmers to stick together and be well organized to achieve common prosperity. Therefore, our work in 2019 will also focus on the farmers' cooperatives in various forms, ensuring their sustainable development. Thank you.

Hu Kaihong:

That's all for today's press conference. Thank you, Mr. Han and Mr. Wu and thanks to everyone here today.

By Li Xiaohua, Zhang Liying, Li Shen, Li Jingrong, Wu Jin, Zhang Rui, Cui Can, Zhang Jiaqi, Huang Shan, Yuan Fang, Li Huiru, Li Yang, Wang Qian, Guo Xiaohong, He Shan, Wang Wei, Zhou Jing, Jennifer Fossenbell, Geoffrey Murray

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