NANCHANG, Jan. 10(Xinhua)-- Migrant worker Li Hongsheng, in his early 30s, unexpectedly got lost when he returned home to a village in Ganzhou City, east China's Jiangxi Province, after having worked out of it for one year.|
"To my surprise, the village in which I grew up has turned as beautiful as a town. I never dreamt it could," he said excitedly.
When Li left his home 12 months ago, the village, named Shuinan,had its pool filled up with sullage. But now it is clean and clear,with its bank slabbed and surrounded by gym facilities. All these,in the shade of green trees, have made the village look like a park in a town.
Additionally, a running water supply system and sanitaries have been introduced into the village. What made him lose his way was the disappearance of more than 2,000 dilapidated huts or shanties and appearance of a 1,000-meter cement village road and small bypasses toward villagers' homes.
In the past, there was no highway leading to the village, which had a muddy road only one meter wide. Villagers were soaked in dust in fine days and in muddy, rainy days suffered from swarms of mosquitoes and flies, Li recalled.
The change at Shuinan village stemmed from China's strategy to"construct a new countryside".
At the fifth session of the 16th Communist Party of China(CPC)Central Committee held in October last year, the construction of a new countryside was included in the proposals of China's 11th Five-Year(2006-2010) Program as an independent chapter. At the central economic work conference and central rural work conference held in December, it was put high on China's development agenda in2006.
Ganzhou, in which Shuinan village is located, was designated as a pilot area for the"new countryside" program and began to carry it out in September 2004.
Approximately 60 percent of China's total population of 1.3 billion live in rural areas. Amid fast economic growth and social development in China over the past decade, the vast countryside was left behind, creating a damper on the nation's efforts to build a harmonious society.
The new countryside program aims, through more fiscal expenditure and other investment, to improve infrastructure and public services in rural areas, increase farmers' income and raisefarmers' initiative for production. Under the program, consumptionwill also be stimulated in rural areas, so as to drive further up the growth of the national economy.
In a description by Premier Wen Jiabao, a"new countryside" was defined as one where farming production grows, and farmers enjoy agood living in villages with democratic management, a clean natural environment and healthy morals.
The trial operation of the program in Ganzhou was seen by experts as setting the pace for rural areas in the less-developed central and western parts of China.
To advance the program, Ganzhou has set up a total of 12,499"new countryside construction councils". Members of such a council are voted directly by villagers. They are mainly responsible for funding management and project implementation for building a"new countryside".
Besides, the councils have formed various economic organs, such as associations of different industries, to help farmers develop emerging business and increase income.
Li Fuzhou, a maize grower at Shuinan village, once earned more than 10,000 yuan(1,250 U.S. dollars) from his 0.67 hectare maize field.
After he was voted by his fellow village folks as the member of the"new countryside" construction council and the head of a maize association, Li has led them in growing maize and increasing the village's land sown to the crop to 40 hectares from two hectares. Thus he helped raise the per-capita income of the village from 2,120 yuan to 2,200 yuan.
Last year Li Fuzhou organized six courses in maize planting and trained 200 farmers.
According to data provided by Ganzhou's"new countryside" construction office, since September 2004, the city has had the program carried out at about 4,000 villages like Shuinan, or 10 percent of its total villages.
The city has invested 490 million yuan(60.4 million U.S. dollars) in"new countryside" program, under which more than 7,200kms of country road have been built and upgraded and 2,910 bridges have been constructed. It has also had 682 kms of ditches built and 43,000 toilet rooms upgraded.
Ganzhou Statistical Bureau said the"new countryside" program has contributed four percent to GDP growth and 2.3 billion yuan(283.6 million U.S. dollars) to fixed-assets investment in the city.
Pan Yiyang, a Party leader of Ganzhou, said,"The'new countryside' program may promote healthy interaction between rural and urban areas and is conducive to the harmony and stability of the whole society."
"It will help turn rural areas from a burden to a propellant for the construction of a harmonious society throughout China," Pan added.
However, experts acknowledged,"new countryside" construction would be a long-term, arduous and complicated process. Enditem