Rural China: After 30 Years’ Reform - Challenges to Sustainable Development of China


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Presentation by Professor Zuo Ting,
Department of Development Management
College of Humanities and Development
China Agricultural University
Part of the Institute of Development Studies' China and Development Seminar Series
See for more development research events from IDS

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Rural China: After 30 Years’ Reform - Challenges to Sustainable Development of China

  1. 1. Rural China: After 30 Years’ Reform ----Challenges to Sustainable Development of China Zuo Ting, Professor Department of Development Management College of Humanities and Development China Agricultural University
  2. 2. Introduction to CAU <ul><li>College of Humanities and development at CAU is the leading organization in China to provide education, research and consultation on rural development studies. Research Areas are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Poverty reduction and sustainable livelihood, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community based natural resource management, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Farmer-centered research and technology development, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender and development, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agricultural innovations and extension, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rural governance and rural development policy, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social capital, community based organization </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Content of Presentation <ul><li>History Review </li></ul><ul><li>Bottlenecks of rural development in China </li></ul><ul><li>Future Scenario </li></ul>
  4. 4. Thirty Years Reform & Development Since 1978 <ul><li>Since 1978, China have launched economic reform which started from rural /agricultural sector, and entered an Era of Transition (rapid development and reform). </li></ul>
  5. 5. Milestones of Rural Policy Evolution <ul><li>1978 Launched reformed policy in the 3rd CC Plenary Meeting of CPC. </li></ul><ul><li>1982 Confirmed household responsibility policy and end-up of Commune </li></ul><ul><li>1982 Strengthened Family Planning Policy </li></ul><ul><li>1983 Deng’s talk allowing part of people being rich first </li></ul><ul><li>1984 Confirmed support to TVEs (township and village enterprises) </li></ul><ul><li>1986 Set up of Poverty Alleviation Office under State Council </li></ul><ul><li>1991 Deng’s talk on speeding-up economic reform </li></ul><ul><li>1994 Formally implemented the Village Organic (autonomy)Law </li></ul><ul><li>1997 Yangtse Flood and following-up national ecological programs </li></ul><ul><li>2000 Launched West Development Policies to mediate east-west gap </li></ul><ul><li>2001 Been member of WTO </li></ul><ul><li>2003 New Rural Cooperative Medical Policy implemented after SARS </li></ul><ul><li>2003 Launched Grain Subsidy Polices </li></ul><ul><li>2005 Terminated Agriculture Tax, in parallel, the increased merging of townships, and proposed new countryside development </li></ul><ul><li>2006 Proposed policy support to migrated labor from rural </li></ul><ul><li>2007 Promulgated law of cooperatives, and policy on rural minimum living standard </li></ul>
  6. 6. GDP from Agriculture <ul><li>Unit: 100 Million CNY </li></ul>
  7. 7. Income of rural people in contrast to urban people <ul><li>Unit: CNY </li></ul>
  8. 8. However <ul><li>the Era of Transition is not yet finished, today’s rural China seems to face an impasse for further development/reform. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bottleneck </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Direction </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Bottlenecks of “Transition” of Rural China <ul><li>Poverty and Inequality </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of Community Nature of Rural Village </li></ul><ul><li>Agriculture (reduced importance as family income, but a public/state interest), for what? </li></ul><ul><li>Impasse of Land Tenure (privatisation vs collective owned) </li></ul><ul><li>Political Conflicts in Rural Governance </li></ul><ul><li>Resource and Environment Sustainability </li></ul>
  10. 10. Rural Poverty and Inequality <ul><li>Reduced absolute poverty (small size), increased relative poverty (large size) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Debate on poverty line </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Increased inequality among regions, rural-urban </li></ul><ul><li>In general, “rural” still implies “poor”. Rural people shares less bonus (or even bares more loss) of development and reform, which challenges its ligitimacy. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Population of Poor <ul><li>From 250 million in 1978 to 14.8 million in 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Unit: % </li></ul>
  12. 12. “ Erosion” of Community Nature of Rural Village <ul><li>Unique rural-urban migration in China (young labor left) which results in disorganization of rural community: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Culture identity, collective action, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Issues of elites leaving and vulnerable group left-behind </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Agriculture for What? <ul><li>Agriculture as source of family income becomes less profitable due to uneconomic of land scale and compared to off-farm income. </li></ul><ul><li>It is still important to poor, which is not focus of agriculture policy. </li></ul><ul><li>But, It is always a state/public concern/interest of food security/safety issue. </li></ul><ul><li>Underestimated the social, environmental as well as long-run economic cost of (modern) agricultural development. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Collective Land Tenure (privatisation vs collective owned) <ul><li>Incomplete property rights to collective members (guaranty, sell, etc.), less incentives of investment </li></ul><ul><li>instability of household contract policy in terms of village community transition (people mobility, demographic change, urbanization) </li></ul><ul><li>Protection of peasants rights in the process of expropriation of land from collective owned agriculture land to state owned commercial land </li></ul><ul><li>Uncertainty of future (contract right vs property right) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Resource and Environment Sustainability <ul><ul><li>Pollution from intensity of agriculture, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resource depletion (land, water, forest, grassland), </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fragmentation of land and ecosystem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Loss of agrobiodiversity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Artificial intervention/building of ecosystem </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Rural Governance <ul><li>Lack of group representation/interest appealing of rural people in national politics; </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity building and enabling support to village autonomy/local government body; </li></ul><ul><li>Centralized governance structure results in policy failure/lower effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Accountability of local governments </li></ul>
  17. 17. Future Scenario of rural development… <ul><li>Depends on both political wills and policy instruments of government to address issue of “dual system” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Radical or incremental? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Priority setting? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development Approaches? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In context of </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Globalization (in both economic and environment dimension) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increasing appealing of different interest groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduced resource consumption/degradation </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Thank You!