Capitalizing on its victory in eradicating absolute poverty, China is ramping up efforts to propel rural vitalization, which is "a major task in realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," as President Xi Jinping put it.
"Promoting rural vitalization on all fronts will be no easier than the anti-poverty battle," said Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
The rural vitalization strategy was proposed as a key move for the development of a modernized economy at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2017.
After the country successfully eradicated absolute poverty, the focus of work concerning agriculture, rural areas and farmers has shifted to promoting rural vitalization.
To realize this goal, the country has been working to foster rural industries, promote the application of agricultural technologies and build beautiful countryside.
ENRICHING FARMERS: NO ONE LEFT BEHIND
When visiting a company producing Tibetan carpets during an inspection tour of northwest China's Qinghai Province in June, Xi stressed efforts to better integrate industrial cultivation and enterprise growth with employment, rural vitalization and ethnic unity.
The carpet factory is a typical case demonstrating that the local specialty industries have been crucial to underpin rural vitalization.
China's rural areas saw steady growth of industries in the first half of this year.
A total of 50 modern agricultural industrial zones, 50 industrial clusters with distinctive strengths and 298 towns with strong agricultural industries were established across the country, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
China's "No. 1 central document" for 2021, the first policy statement released by the central authorities each year, highlighted the role of science and technology in rural vitalization.
When visiting a tea farm at the foot of Mount Wuyi in Fujian Province in March, Xi stressed more efforts in implementing the arrangements to dispatch technical professionals to rural areas and help with local development.
The farm is run by a team led by Liao Hong, a professor at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University. By interplanting tea with soy bean and oilseed rape, the team has not only increased yields, but also improved the soil and tea quality. Tea produced by the farm could fetch a price 30 percent higher than average products.
Hundreds of thousands of agricultural professionals are working at the grassroots across the country, injecting strong impetus into the high-quality development of the agricultural industry.
China's summer grain output hit a record high this year. The acreage, yield per unit area and total yield all registered year-on-year growth. Special high-quality wheat plantation accounted for 37.3 percent of the acreage, 1.5 percentage points higher than last year, data from the ministry showed.
BEAUTIFUL COUNTRYSIDE: BETTER LIVING ENVIRONMENTS
Apart from boosting local industries in rural areas, Xi also attaches great importance to improving rural living environments to ensure rural residents have better access to high-quality services and facilities.
"Toilet revolution" has been put high on agenda to make the countryside more livable.
By the end of 2020, more than 40 million rural household toilets had been renovated since China launched a three-year rural living environment upgrade campaign in 2018, with the penetration rate of clean toilets achieving 68 percent in China's rural areas, statistics showed.
Rural "toilet revolution" will continue to be an important task of rural vitalization in the next five years, Xi said last month in an instruction on the work to advance the campaign.
He called for solid progress in light of local conditions and in a scientific manner while avoiding formalism and waste of resources.
Besides this, rural household waste treatment and sewage treatment are also deemed important works in rural vitalization.
Li Haimei, a villager in the mountainous area of the southwestern province of Guizhou, saw the dry toilet at her home, which used to be next to the pigsty, rebuilt into a bathroom with a flush toilet and shower fittings in 2020.
Li and her husband, who had been working in cities away from home, have decided to stay in the village and start a homestay and restaurant this year. "We will turn to tourism for a living at our doorstep as the improving village conditions are attracting more visitors."