The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Sunday approved a decision on major issues concerning rural reform and development at the close of a four-day plenum.
Hu Jintao, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, delivered a work report at the Third Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee, which was held from October 9 to 12 in Beijing.
The country was facing challenges in its rural development and reform, but it would firmly push forward the work, said the communique issued after the plenum.
"Rural infrastructure is still weak and needs improving. Rural development is lagging behind and needs support. Farmers' income increases slowly and needs speeding up," said the document.
"We will firmly push forward the rural reform. We will continue to emancipate the mind," it said. "We shall work out new concepts and ideas to solve the problems in rural development."
The government would try to make a breakthrough in reforming the rural system, proceed in liberating the rural economy and improving its dynamics, create a better economic environment, improve rural development policy, it said.
China will stick to and improve its rural basic economic system, the communique said. The system is based on the household contract responsibility system which entrusts the management and production of public owned farmlands to individual households through long-term contracts.
It will set up a "strict and normative" land management system in the countryside, expand policy support for agriculture, establish a modern rural financial network and a system to balance the development between rural and urban areas, and improve the rural democracy.
In the communique, the CPC promised to invest more government budget in public service in rural areas, including education, health care, employment, housing and pension sectors.
It also asked Party organs and governments at all levels to put rural development at the top of their agendas and embody the national rural development strategy in policies, planning, budgets and assigning officials.
It set a goal to double the per-capita disposable income of rural residents by 2020 from the 2008 level.
The CPC has always placed great importance on agriculture, rural development and farmers' life as they are vital to the country's overall development, the communique said.
The rural reform triggered China's economic reform three decades ago. It contributed to the establishment of the country's basic economic system and socialist market economy, improvement of people's life and modernization process, it said.
A total of 202 full members and 166 alternate members of the Committee attended the plenum, according to the communique.
Members of CPC central commission for discipline inspection and top officials of the relevant departments were also present at the session, the communique said.
Some delegates to the 17th CPC National Congress who have been working on agriculture and rural development at the grass roots, and experts and scholars on agriculture, rural areas and farmers also attended the plenum.
The plenum also analyzed the economic situation. The communiqué noted that the general situation in China was good, the economy had kept a relatively fast growth, the financial sector had been stable, and the basic trend of the country's economic development had not changed.
However, the plenum held that the turbulence of the international financial market had intensified, and the global economic growth had slowed down. The number of uncertain and unstable factors in the international economic environment had increased, while the domestic economic operation also suffered from some contradictions and problems.
"Therefore, we had to be mindful of potential dangers, and be prepared to take challenges," the communique said.
Delegates to the plenum agreed that the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee had fully implemented the principals put forward by the first and second plenary sessions of the 17th CPC Central Committee, according to the communique.
It had held high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, followed the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, thoroughly applied the Scientific Outlook on Development, continued to emancipate the mind, persisted in reform and opening up, pursued development in a scientific way, promoted social harmony, and strove for new victories in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, it added.
The communique said that the Political Bureau also united the whole party and people of all ethnic groups to deal with the complicated and volatile international and domestic situations as well as big challenges of natural disasters.
It led the people to win the campaign against snow and rain disasters in south China in February and March, and relief work after the May 12 earthquake in southwest Sichuan Province, to successfully host the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics, and to complete the manned space flight of Shenzhou 7.
The Political Bureau also did a good job in pushing forward the economic, political, cultural and social development and the party's self-building. It had made new progresses in all respects, consolidated and developed the social stability, the communique said.
Monday's People's Daily, the leading Party newspaper, will carry an editorial reviewing the achievement made at the plenum.
"The plenum was held at a critical moment when China's reform entered a key stage and changes of the international situation went deep," the article said.
(Xinhua News Agency October 12, 2008)