A New Day in Rural China
Revitalization efforts in rural areas must maintain continuity of rural society and enhance rural values. They must inspire rural residents to adjust their lifestyles and production modes to merge with the development of modern society.
After four decades of reform and opening up, China’s rural areas have undergone tremendous changes. In the past, huge numbers of rural Chinese residents struggled just to meet food and clothing needs, but now the majority of rural areas have nearly achieved status as moderately prosperous societies. Per capita annual disposable income of China’s rural residents increased from 134 yuan in 1978 to 13,432 yuan in 2017, multiplying by over 100 in just 40 years.
Nevertheless, China’s rural areas still face some difficulties on the long road to modernization. Poverty remains a problem. Despite the impressive overall development of rural China, regional imbalances continue to glare across the country’s vast rural areas, and some remote mountainous areas with harsh natural conditions are still plagued by poverty. Furthermore, population migration has resulted in the “hollowing out” of rural areas. Many working- age rural residents venture to cities seeking employment as migrant workers, leaving only the elderly and children behind in the villages.
These problems evidence that rural development still has a long way to go to truly achieve socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics. In this context, China introduced a new rural vitalization strategy with an eye on developing rural areas with thriving businesses, pleasant living environments, strong social etiquette and civility, effective governance, widespread prosperity and accelerated agricultural and rural modernization.