China's Rural Vitalization: Villages expand collective income, bringing subsidies to local population
In its modernization drive over recent years, one critical area for the Chinese government has been the countryside. Efforts have been made in rural areas to help reach the idea of common prosperity. Our reporter Chen Tong visited a village in the country's coastal province of Zhejiang to find out more.
This is Miaojia Village in China's eastern Zhejiang Province. With a total population of over 3,000 people, it's not a big village, but a very modern one.
CHEN TONG Miaojia Village, Zhejiang Province "This is called 'happiness square.' The public facilities here are modern, and there's equipment that you won't even always find in cities, like these machines that test your physical fitness. It's hard to imagine this is a public square hidden in a village."
Lu Rongjie, party secretary of Miaojia Village, said the village used over 10 million yuan to renovate the square in 2021.
LU RONGJIE Party Secretary of Miaojia Village "Villagers said they are living very close and they need a place with more equipment. So we decided to expand the old square and bring more facilities here."
Where did the money come from? Part of the funding came from government subsidies, but over the past years, Miaojia Village has been trying very hard to expand its collective income too, from property leasing, tourism, and cooperatives.
LU RONGJIE Party Secretary of Miaojia Village "Collective income must rely on multiple sources of income. Only one industry cannot support the development of one village. Our collective income reached 14.8 million yuan last year. Only large collective income can do more things to benefit villagers."
And now Miaojia Village is using some five million yuan from its collective income to provide more subsidies to all the local villagers each year.
Sixty-nine-year-old Xu Genjing now works at the cooperative in the village. His family now earns some 200,000 yuan a year, including a salary at the cooperative, a pension from the government, rents from his property and dividends from the village.
XU GENJING Resident, Miaojia Village "We are happy to receive the money because everyone can get it. Dividends are increasing each year. Last year, we received 600 yuan, and this year, we got 800. Three of our family have residence permits here, and we received a total of three or four thousand yuan this year."
In 2022, disposable income per capita in the Miaojia Village came in at over 56,000 yuan, 20,000 yuan more than the average in Zhejiang Province.
But the village's secretary is not satisfied.
LU RONGJIE Party Secretary of Miaojia Village "We need to bring more high-end professionals to the village to make it more energetic. In addition, we have many affairs in the village such as tourism reception, elderly care and property management. We used to hire third-party companies. But I want to establish our own company, and then let villagers work at the company too."
Miaojia Village is far more than the only village in China that is putting efforts to reach common prosperity. Nationwide, disposable income in rural areas reached over 20,000 yuan in 2022, a year-on-year increase of over four percent. The growth rate is faster than in urban areas, further shortening urban-rural income gap to realize China's process of modernization. CHEN TONG, CGTN, JIAXING, ZHEJIANG PROVINCE.