Re­port: Ru­ral in­comes ris­ing, but coun­try­may miss some key tar­gets

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By HOULIQIANG houliqiang@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Though ru­ral res­i­dents have a much bet­ter life, their liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment is still bad.”

De­spite in­creases in ru­ral res­i­dents’ over­all in­come, China may miss some key tar­gets in ru­ral en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

Lo­cal gov­ern­ments will have to make a more se­ri­ous effort to bring down dis­charges of chem­i­cal fer­til­iz­ers to meet its goal of rais­ing all peo­ple to mod­er­ate pros­per­ity by 2020, ac­cord­ing to the China Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Re­port, re­leased by the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences onWed­nes­day.

The doc­u­ment said that ru­ral de­vel­op­ment pro­gressed steadily from 2011 to 2014, based on an eval­u­a­tion sys­tem that in­cludes eco­nom­i­can­d­so­cialde­vel­op­ment, liv­ing stan­dards, ecol­ogy and ur­ban-ru­ral in­te­gra­tion.

The im­prove­ment of liv­ing stan­dards tops the five in­dexes, con­tribut­ing 39.6 per­cent to over­all de­vel­op­ment, fol­lowed by ur­ban-ru­ral in­te­gra­tion, which con­trib­utes Wang Dongyang, 23.6 per­cent. Ur­ban-ru­ral in­te­gra­tion in­cludes nar­row­ing the dif­fer­ences of dis­pos­able per­sonal in­come be­tween ru­ral and ur­ban res­i­dents and their ex­penses.

The re­port found a shrink­ing gap in liv­ing stan­dards among ru­ral res­i­dents across China.

InEastChina, so­cial de­vel­op­ment — which in­cludes ed­u­ca­tion, health­care and so­cial se­cu­rity — made the small­est con­tri­bu­tion to ru­ral de­vel­op­ment, while eco­log­i­cal im­prove­ment of­fered the least help in Cen­tral and North­east China.

“The gov­ern­ment’s in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture to bridge the ur­ban-ru­ral gap con­trib­uted to the im­prove­ment of ru­ral res­i­dents’ liv­ing stan­dards,” said Liu Changquan, a ru­ral de­vel­op­ment re­searcher at the academy.

China once at­tached great im­por­tance to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment but over­looked en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. Though the gov­ern­ment has been pay­ing more at­ten­tion to theen­vi­ron­men­tand­so­cial de­vel­op­ment, it needs time to see im­prove­ment, Liu said.

In the past, farm­ers used too much fer­til­izer, which was then flushed into rivers and lakes by ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter. Changes in farm­ing and ir­ri­ga­tion meth­ods to solve the prob­lem also take time, Liu said.

He added that peo­ple should try to re­duce house­hold garbage in ru­ral ar­eas and make more of waste col­lected and dis­posed to make the en­vi­ron­ment bet­ter.

En­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial de­vel­op­ment prob­lems and the de­vel­op­ment of po­lit­i­cal democ­racy in ru­ral China still hin­ders ef­forts to build a well-off so­ci­ety, said Wang Dongyang, head of the In­sti­tute of Agri­cul­tural Eco­nomics and De­vel­op­ment at the Chi­nese Academy of Agri­cul­tural Sci­ences.

“Though ru­ral res­i­dents have a much bet­ter life, their liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment is still bad,” he said, “While be­com­ing richer, they still see a big gap with ur­ban res­i­dents in ed­u­ca­tion and cul­tural life.”

As peo­ple in East China have be­come rich, more lowend la­bor-in­ten­sive in­dus­tries are be­ing trans­ferred to ru­ral ar­eas in Cen­tral and West China, which will prob­a­bly­make pol­lu­tion worse in those places, he added.

head of the In­sti­tute of Agri­cul­tural De­vel­op­ment at Chi­nese Academy of Agri­cul­tural Sci­ences

Zhang Zhi­hao con­trib­uted to this story.

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