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This book systematically reviews the experiences and problems encountered in the development of China’s rural areas over the past three decades since the start of the country’s economic reform. As such, it addresses the most important aspects in terms of China’s rural communities, farmers and agriculture from the perspective of development, such as the agricultural management system, rural land tenure system, rural fiscal and taxation system, financial system, science and technology system, rural governance structure, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, etc. The approach employed combines essential theories, laws, and policy strategies with rural development practice in order to analyze the success stories and lingering problems, to explore the causes of both, and to offer an outlook on the future of rural development.



Rural Development in China: Review and Reflections

Progress and accomplishments have been made in rural development reforms in China over the past three decades and a red line is running throughout the whole process: protecting the material rights of rural population, respecting the democratic rights of rural population, liberating and developing the productivity of agriculture and rural areas. In this chapter, we look back on rural development in China and the course of reforms in the two areas of economics and politics, summarize experience which may provide lessons, explain the current state of rural development and reforms, and lay out the prospects for future development trends.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Development of the National Management and Basic Operations for Agriculture

In this chapter, we look back on and assess the evolution and development of the national management and basic operations for agriculture in China over the three decades of reform and opening up. We also give an outlook for and make suggestions for measures to deepen reforms in these areas.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Development of the Circulation System for Agricultural Products and Factors of Production

As modernization has been relentlessly pursued in China, the size of the circulation system for agricultural products and agricultural means of production has grown ever greater, and said circulation system has grown ever more liberalized.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Development of Township and Village Enterprises and Transformation of the Ownership System

Over the three decades, a striking characteristic of China’s economic development has been the rise and rapid growth of township and village enterprises (TVEs). TVEs grew in rural areas; were collectively established by grassroots governments, entrepreneurs, and rural population; engaged primarily in industrial activities; and had completely different production methods from agricultural production.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Rural Cooperative Economic Organizations: Development and Innovations

In this chapter we briefly discuss rural cooperative economic organizations in China prior to reform and opening up, look back on the evolution and development of such organizations over the past 30-plus years, make forecasts for future evolution and development, and propose measures to deepen reforms.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Development of the Rural Labor Market

Prior to reform and opening up, rural population did not have the right to control their own labor. As the household contract responsibility system has taken root and rural labor has gradually become freer, labor released from agriculture has shifted away from planting and toward forestry, husbandry, sideline industries, and fisheries, from agriculture into non-agricultural industries, and from the countryside toward cities and coastal regions. The integrated urban–rural labor market is now forming.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Development of the Rural Land System

Since reform and opening up, the development of China’s rural land system started first from the implementation of the household contract responsibility system in the countryside, evolving from being demand-induced to a top-to-bottom system of government supply. Having satisfied the prerequisite of fully respecting the willingness to change and pioneering spirit of rural population, the central government acknowledged and endowed the rights of rural population to operate contracted land, opened the rural land factor market, and began constructing a system to protect property rights to the land. At the same time, the government built and perfected a series of land management institutions, including restrictions on the usage of land. The outlook for the future is that the development of the rural land system will transition from single reforms into comprehensive reforms, from urban-rural segregation to urban rural integration, and the comprehensive construction of an integrated urban-rural land policy system.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Reforms and Development of the Rural Financial System

Over the past three decades of reform and opening up, reforms and development in China’s rural financial system have been through a complex, winding route. On the whole, reforms and development to the rural financial system have come in two areas. The first is reforms, in other words reforms to existing rural financial institutions, these being reforms to existing structures. The second is development, in other words the construction and development of new rural financial institutions, this being growth-centric development.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Development of Rural Fiscal Administration and Taxation

After more than three decades of reform and opening up, a public fiscal system appropriate to the socialist market economic system built on the principles of social harmony has taken shape. The distributive relationship between the state and rural population reflected by the fiscal and taxation systems has already changed from “taking much and giving little” to “giving much and taking little.” Segregation between rural and urban areas in the provision of public products and services is now transforming into urban–rural integration.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Development of China’s Agricultural Science and Technology (AST) System

China’s agricultural science and technology (AST) system has long been in a state of reform and development. Many years of practical experience and explorations have given rise to a system for innovations in agricultural science and technology and dissemination of applications, one of standardized management, with highly efficient operations, of strong capacity to innovate and compete, highly vigorous and full of vitality. We have accumulated rich experience and ascertained the direction of reforms.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Construction and Development of Rural Towns and Villages

In this chapter we take building the market economic system as the main line of construction, reforms, and development of rural towns and villages. We will conduct necessary, comprehensive, and detailed analysis of relevant systems and institutions, as well as development issues. We will expound upon the role that economic system reforms and the establishment of the market economy play in the construction and development of towns and villages. We will compare the formation mechanisms of different town and village development models and significance of lessons to be learned. We will explore future town and village construction and development objectives and focuses to learn how to better drive construction and development of towns and villages.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Rural Governance in China: Review and Outlooks

Rural governance mechanisms come in the following four areas. First are the methods of production of authoritative rural governance organs, including possibly democratic elections, dispatching from superior levels, and agreements made by the people. Second are relationships between authoritative rural governance organs and other quasi-governmental organs and private bodies. Third are fiscal relationships in rural governance, including financing methods for fiscal incomes and basic rules for the use of fiscal expenditures. Fourth are basic functions and departmental division of labor in rural governance organs. Summarily speaking, in this chapter we will discuss questions of rural public order, excluding rural public finances. When necessary, however, we will touch on rural public finance. As there are already chapters in this book dedicated to the analysis of rural fiscal relationships, rural social security, rural infrastructure, and rural specialized cooperatives, in this chapter we will avoid discussion of those topics unless it is necessary.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Development of the Rural Social Security System

Social security is the income protection the government and society offer to individuals and households, to prevent various unexpected factors from influencing their most basic survival and development. The core role played by social security is to ensure social fairness. At the same time, social security has many functions, including maintenance of social order and promotion of economic development. The rural social security system, which covers the rural population, is an important component of the overall social security system. In this chapter, we give a brief summary of China’s rural social security system prior to reform and opening up, offer a review and assessment of the evolution and development of the rural social security system over the past 30-plus years of reform and opening up, make an outlook on future development, and suggest measures to deepen reforms.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Poverty Alleviation in Rural China

The great reduction of the numbers of rural people in poverty is one of the greatest, most spectacular achievements made in China over the past 30-plus years of reform and opening up.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Natural Resource Management and Environmental Protection in Rural China

The development of China’s rural natural resource management and environmental protection has happened against a backdrop of constantly accelerating urbanization and industrialization, ever tightening land resource supplies, and growing pressure to improve environmental quality.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li

Outlook for Rural Development in China

After more than 30 years of development, China’s comprehensive agricultural production capacity has increased, market mechanisms are playing a greater role, and supply and demand for agricultural products is growing increasingly stable. The primary tasks in agricultural development in China at present are: accelerating technological innovations, realizing great economies of scale, specialization, and organization; increasing the appeal of agriculture as a job choice, the level of marketization of resource allocations, and the quality of agricultural products; strengthening the international competitiveness of our agricultural products; and lowering the cost of balancing supply and demand for agricultural products.
Xiaoshan Zhang, Zhou Li


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