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China pledges to accelerate rural development
Updated: 2005-12-30 18:18

China will adopt more favorable policies and invest more heavily in the rural areas next year, according to a central work meeting on rural development which concluded here on Thursday.

Premier Wen Jiabao speaks at the Central Conference on Rural Work in Beijing December 29, 2005. [Xinhua]

Rural construction will claim a higher share in national debts and financial budgets in 2006, with more money to be spent on the improvement of living conditions in the countryside, the meeting has decided.

"This is the first time for the central authorities to invest so heavily in rural development," said Han Jun, an expert of ruralresearch with the Development Research Center under the State Council, China's cabinet.

"It means the focus of infrastructure construction would shift from the urban areas to the rural areas," said Han.

China has greatly increased its spending on farmers, agriculture and the countryside in recent years. It was estimated that in 2005, the central finance allocated over 300 billion yuan (37.5 billion U.S. dollars) to support rural development, a 50 percent rise over the figure of 2002.
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