“The building of beautiful villages should not just focus on beauty, but also soul, uniqueness and vitality, which means that villages should be able to attract enough people, business and create wealth, otherwise it can hardly be successful,” said Chen Wenling, Chief Economist of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges and former Director-General of the General Office of the Research Office of the State Council, in her keynote speech at the fifth Mayors’ Forum on the “China Dream, Villages Dreams,” held on December 17, 2017.
As part of the “China Dream” forum, this forum is organized by different local governments, media, villages and towns. More than 80 media have set off an upsurge of building beautiful homes and the most beautiful villages and towns across China.
At the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the proposal of “Implementing the strategy of rejuvenating the countryside” was put forward. To put that proposal into practice, we have to accelerate agricultural modernization according to the general requirements of industrial prosperity, ecological livability, civilized rural culture, effective governance and affluent life. The next three years will be a crucial period for building a moderately prosperous society.
In an interview with CBN, Chen Wenling said that the pace of urbanization in China will slow down in the future but the construction of beautiful villages and towns will be accelerated. She believes that the development of the beautiful villages campaign has made significant success, attracted nationwide attention and had more impact than before. However, some problems also occurred, such as follow the trend blindly. Some villages and towns have not created their own characteristics and lacked taste.
The development of urban and rural areas needs integration in the following five aspects
In her speech at the forum, Chen Wenling proposed that urban and rural development must not be separated, instead they need to achieve a high level of integration and form a community in the following five areas:
First of all, the online and offline integration between urban and town. On one hand, we should achieve online urban-town integration based on network technologies such as the Internet of Things, cloud computing and artificial intelligence. On the other hand, we should realize offline urban-town integration with the help of infrastructure like high-speed rail, highways and port. The countryside can be seen as the city’s back garden, while the city can be seen as the towns’ lobby. An idyllic city must include the countryside, otherwise it can not call itself an idyllic city.
Second, talent is extremely important for the integration process. In the future, factors such as science and technology, culture and capital will form a two-way flow between the urban and town, not just a one-way flow of agriculture to cities.
Third, the industrial integration must not damage the image of the rural areas, that means we need to create the processing and manufacturing of agricultural products, tourism and other agriculture-based modern service industries. Industries will be restructured to suit rural development, and will also be transferred from cities to rural areas to form a new industry combination.
At the same time, the market integration is essential. In the past, the biggest problem in urban and rural areas was the contradiction between the small-scale production and the big market. In the future, the rural areas will be able to enjoy the convenience and services the cities have through the Internet+ based logistics supply chain and a highly integrated market.
Finally, the integration of mankind and nature is the most important part for meeting people’s need for a beautiful ecological environment.
Five suggestions on the building of beautiful countryside
Chen Wenling said that “building a beautiful China” is a systematic project and consistent effort is needed to complete the project, to this end, we should focus on the following five aspects.
First of all, we should aim to build a world-class beautiful countryside with Chinese characteristics and design.
Second, the building of the beautiful countryside should broaden its horizon and seize the opportunity of the Belt and Road Initiative to promote China’s products and services to other countries, to attract new tourist and cultural resources, to strengthen its soft-power and to better spread China’s experience to the international community.
Third, the building of the beautiful countryside should attach great importance to quality, branding, uniqueness and good taste.
Fourth, we should sum up the experience in the process of building beautiful villages and pass it to the higher leadership so as to formulate valuable guidelines for the building of beautiful villages.
Finally, we should understand the concept of “beautiful villages” correctly. Being a beautiful village is far not good enough, a truly beautiful village should have a soul, uniqueness, vitality and good selling point. Villages without vitality can not be defined as successful. The purpose of building beautiful villages is to give farmers a better place to live and to foster their market competitiveness so that the beauty of the villages can become a lasting and value-added wealth in rural areas.
Analysis of the relationship between the “beautiful villages” and “special towns” projects
Chen Wenling pointed out that it is necessary to understand the relationship and difference between projects such as the “beautiful villages”, “special towns”, “new rural areas” and the “county economy”.
She said that the “special town” is proposed by Zhejiang province and is to create a small town of 3 to 5 square kilometers with special characteristics, it does not have to be a village. The “new rural areas” draws on the experience of South Korea and Japan, mainly referring to the improvement of infrastructure such as houses and roads, while the “beautiful villages” highlights the concept of ecology and livability.
As for the county economy, Chen Wenling said that “beautiful villages” is the foundation of the county economy. Only when the countryside is well developed can the county economy develop.
In Chen Wenling’s opinion, the biggest imbalance in China is the imbalance between the urban and rural areas. If the rural-related problems can not be solved, it is impossible to make up for the shortcomings. We will not be able to build a beautiful China without beautiful villages.
“Building a beautiful China is the essence of building a powerful socialist modern country, and beautiful villages are the foundation of building a beautiful China and thus, we have to work hard on the building of beautiful villages in China,” said Chen Wenling.