Five things to know in China's No. 1 central document for 2021
By Jiang Wenlai
Huizhouzhuang village, Shuikou Township, Changxing County, Huzhou City, east China's Zhejiang Province, August 7, 2019. /CFP

Huizhouzhuang village, Shuikou Township, Changxing County, Huzhou City, east China's Zhejiang Province, August 7, 2019. /CFP

Editor's note: Jiang Wenlai is a researcher at the Institute of Agricultural Resources and Agricultural Regional Planning of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The article reflects the author's views, and not necessarily those of CGTN.

China released the "No. 1 central document" for 2021 on Sunday, which ushers in the country's eighteenth consecutive year focusing on agriculture, rural areas and farmers. It is also the first document in the first year of China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025).

Focusing on comprehensively pushing forward rural vitalization and accelerating the modernization of agriculture and rural areas, the document highlights China's policy priority on rural works in five aspects.

Policy shift on agriculture, rural areas and farmers

China has entered the 14th Five-Year Plan period. 2021 is also the first year for China to embark on a new journey to comprehensively build a modern socialist country. Therefore, the orientation for agriculture, rural areas and farmers in this special period is of great significance.

The document says rural revitalization is the foundation of national rejuvenation. The most arduous task is still in the countryside, and the most extensive and deepest foundation is still in the countryside. Therefore, China will make agriculture, rural areas and farmers the top priority of its work, and rural revitalization a major task for realizing national rejuvenation.

The great importance attached on agriculture, rural areas and farmers by the central government is unprecedented, which has laid a political foundation for the building of a new pattern of rural areas.

Assuming political responsibility for food security

The document for the first time proposes that local Party committees and governments at all levels must shoulder the political responsibility for food security, which is unprecedented and has a very important role in ensuring the country's food security.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought tremendous changes to the world that posts new threat to food security. As China is a country with a large population, ensuring national food security is not only a question of filling the belly, but also related to national rejuvenation. Linking food security with political responsibilities enhances the political status of food security, especially in local Party committees.

Comprehensively promoting rural revitalization

In 2018, China published Opinions on the Implementation of Rural Revitalization Strategy. Three years later, the country is refocusing on rural revitalization, which is a historic policy shift.

The modernization of agriculture and rural areas is the shortcoming of China's overall modernization. Only by comprehensively promoting rural revitalization can we lay the foundation for agricultural and rural modernization.

The ambition to accelerate the modernization of agriculture and rural areas not only reflects the foresight of the Party, but also demonstrates the confidence and determination to realize the modernization of agriculture and rural areas in our country, which will greatly promote the work of rural revitalization.

Action plan for rural revitalization

Rural revitalization is a complex and systematic project. Carrying it out in an orderly and solid manner determines the success of rural revitalization.

The document lists the specific action plan of realizing rural revitalization. For example, it puts forward measures to consolidate and expand the results of poverty alleviation and rural revitalization. It points out the way to carry out a rural revitalization in areas that have shaken off poverty. The measures are in line with the reality and can achieve the effective combination of the consolidation of poverty alleviation results and rural revitalization.

In addition, it outlines specific measures on how to promote rural revitalization in different regions, which are workable and conform to China's national conditions.

Hard measures of promoting rural revitalization

Only with implementation can results be achieved, and farmers can gain a sense of happiness, gain and safety.

A slew of hard measures can be seen in the document. For example, China will set a five-year transition period for counties that have shaken off poverty and gradually shift the policy focus from poverty alleviation toward comprehensively promoting rural vitalization.

The country will retain a "red line" of 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares) of arable land, and delineate various space control boundaries in an orderly manner and strictly implement land use control.

It will also implement the most stringent farmland protection system, which is conducive to carrying out the document and accelerating rural revitalization.

(Heather Hao also contributed to the story)

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