While Xi Jinping has established his new “Chinese dream” slogan, the development of rural areas, where more than 600 million people live, remains a huge task for the Communist Party. The use by Chinese specialists of the term “Three Rural Issues” (sannong wenti) sums up the urgent need for China to modernize its agriculture, improve farmers’ socioeconomic situation, and develop basic infrastructure in rural areas. Some argue that if this is not done, the “Three Rural Issues” could threaten economic growth, social stability, and even the Party’s hold on power. After first looking at the various rural policies since the beginning of China’s opening-up reforms, this paper will analyze their implications as well as recent developments. Finally, it will attempt to highlight the underlying political problems reflected by China’s rural situation, in particular the role of local authorities.
- Rural Policies since 1978
- Rural Reforms of the 1980s
- “Building a New Socialist Countryside”
- Impact of Rural Policies and the Socioeconomic Situation in China’s Countryside
- Increasing Incomes, Reducing Poverty, and Developing the Countryside
- Growing Inequality
- Rural Migration and the Residence Permit Issue
- Illegal Seizure of Farmland or the Inability to Protect Land Use Rights
- The Xi Jinping-Li Keqiang Leadership and Prospects for China’s Countryside
- Xi Jinping and the Rural Issue
- The Great Urban Leap – A Solution for the Countryside?
- Conclusion: Beyond the “Three Rural Issues”