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A reassuring message is given to farmers

By An Baijie | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-26 07:06

A reassuring message is given to farmers

A worker processes spring green tea at a factory in Tianjiayao village of Rizhao, Shandong province, in April. ZHENG ZHICHENG/CHINA DAILY

One day after the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, I received a phone call from a former middle-school classmate. He had been the class monitor but is now a successful tea plantation manager in Rizhao, Shandong province.

The phone call was about his business: After renting 133 hectares of land from local farmers several years ago to plant green tea trees, he became the richest person in my old class.

In China, farmers may obtain the right to use a piece of land from the village committees that own it. Managers, such as my former classmate, may rent the land from those farmers.

In the past, my friend would hesitate when deciding whether or not to rent more land, because under rules made in the 1990s a farmer's rights are limited to 30 years. He worried that business could be disrupted if the status of the land changed when the time limit was reached.

His anxiety was eased by the report delivered by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, last Wednesday during the opening session of the congress. The report said that rural land contracting practices will remain stable and unchanged on a long-term basis, and the current round of contracts will be extended for another 30 years upon expiration.

When Xi joined a panel discussion the next day with delegates from Guizhou province, he again addressed the issue of farmland usage rights.

After hearing from a village official, Yu Liufen, who said farmers are satisfied with the new rule extending contracts, Xi asked: "With another 30 years, you are reassured?"

"Yes," Yu responded. "We will no longer worry about uncertainties on the land. I am very glad and excited after hearing the report."

Farmland usage rights have been a key factor in the stabilization of the country's rural society. Chairman Mao Zedong once said that "China's problems are rural problems, and rural problems are land problems."

During its early stages of development in the last century, the CPC attached great importance to land reform. Its land policies have enjoyed wide support from the country's farmers ever since.

Such policy consistency helps to maintain development and stability, and it's one of the hallmarks of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

For my classmate, the tea manager, my suggestion is to be bold. Practice entrepreneurship. And, most important, be ready to embrace the new era.

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