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Green Rural Revival Program sets sights on rural revitalization

Li Chunding, Xing Zelei

Fuxi Street in Wangmushan Village, Deqing County, presents a picturesque rural summer landscape, with its village, waterways, and lotus ponds, in Huzhou, China./CFP
Fuxi Street in Wangmushan Village, Deqing County, presents a picturesque rural summer landscape, with its village, waterways, and lotus ponds, in Huzhou, China./CFP

Fuxi Street in Wangmushan Village, Deqing County, presents a picturesque rural summer landscape, with its village, waterways, and lotus ponds, in Huzhou, China./CFP

Editor’s note:  Li Chunding is the director and professor of the Economics and Trade Department of China Agricultural University. Xing Zelei is a PhD student at College of Economics and Management at China Agricultural University. The article reflects the authors' opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN. It has been translated from Chinese and edited for brevity and clarity.

With the third anniversary of the official establishment of the National Rural Revitalization Bureau and comprehensive victory in the poverty alleviation campaign, Chinese villages face unprecedented development opportunities. The release of the "No. 1 central document" in 2024, which particularly emphasizes "learning and applying the experience of the Green Rural Revival Program" and "taking the comprehensive advancement of rural revitalization as the main grip in the new era's journey for the 'agriculture, rural areas, and farmers' work (abbreviated as 'three rural issues')", signifies the country's high regard and firm determination for comprehensive rural revitalization. 

Chinese rural development is standing at a new historical starting point, moving towards comprehensive revitalization and sustainable development. The Green Rural Revival Program, as an innovative initiative from Zhejiang Province, has become an important strategy for promoting comprehensive rural revitalization. 

Since its inception in the late 20th century, the project has set clear goals and gradually demonstrated profound impacts on rural communities and infrastructure. 

The implementation strategy of the program focuses on three core areas: firstly, the aesthetic improvement of villages, not only paying attention to improving the appearance of villages but also including infrastructure improvements and environmental protection, making villages more livable and business-friendly; secondly, the modernization of agriculture, fundamentally changing the modes of agricultural production through technological innovation and management enhancement, further strengthening the sustainable development capacity of agriculture; and lastly, innovation in rural social governance focusing on building harmonious communities, by strengthening the rule of law and social service systems, enhancing the well-being of farmers and residents alike.

The program has been fully implemented for 20 years, greatly improving the rural environment of Zhejiang and exploring a scientific path to rural revitalization. For example, Tangdi Village in Shaoxing City, saw significant environmental improvements through the implementation of the program, attracting many tourists and investors, and achieving dual economic and social development. Hengshanwu Village in Anji County, by developing characteristic agriculture and rural tourism, has driven income growth for villagers and become a model for rural revitalization. 

These cases show that government policy guidance, active participation of social capital, and support for technological innovation are key factors in promoting rural revitalization. By adhering to principles such as ecological priority, green development, adapting measures to local conditions, scientific planning, and leading with party building for shared construction and enjoyment, the Green Rural Revival Program not only beautified the rural environment but also promoted comprehensive economic and social development, providing valuable experience and models for China's rural revitalization.

Promoting comprehensive rural revitalization and achieving the modernization of agriculture and rural areas are currently of paramount importance to our country's work about the "three rural issues". In this context, the successful experience of the Green Rural Revival Program is particularly valuable. The program has not only provided a practical and feasible model for rural development but also showcased the broad prospects for the modernization of agriculture and rural areas. Its implementation has proven the effectiveness of development strategies that are people-centered and sustainable, pointing the way for rural revitalization in other regions and across the country.

When promoting the experience of the program nationwide, it is necessary to deeply consider the differences in economic development levels, natural resources, and cultural traditions among the vast regions. This requires each region to innovate and practice based on its actual conditions. Local governments should play a leading role, combining local resource advantages and development needs to carefully design rural revitalization plans that suit local conditions. For example, mountainous areas and plains have significant differences in the paths and focus of agricultural modernization, which necessitates local governments to formulate differentiated strategies to fully leverage their comparative advantages.

Through the active role of local governments and the joint participation of society as a whole, rural revitalization strategies referenced from the Green Rural Revival Program can effectively address challenges, promote the effective implementation and sustainable development of the comprehensive rural revitalization strategy, and achieve the goals of strong agriculture, beautiful rural areas, and wealthy farmers. This is not only an inheritance and development of the experience of the program but also a significant advancement in the process of modernizing agriculture and rural areas in our country, contributing to the revitalization of rural areas and the comprehensive construction of a modern socialist country.

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