We have launched E-mail Alert service,subscribers can receive the latest catalogues free of charge

You Are Here: Home > Publications> Articles

Rural Development and New Paradigm for Governance


Zhao Shukai

The new rural policy issued by current government indicates that China’s rural development has entered an inspiring golden period. Under such favorable conditions featured by the policy guidance of “industry promoting agriculture and urban areas supporting rural areas as well as increased government investment, the main obstacle curbing rural development is poor governance. How to carry out good policy effectively is besetting rural work. The way in which the government manages rural society still follows the traditional system. Realizing harmonious rural development calls for the establishment of a new relationship between the government and rural society and should focus on innovating the function of grassroots governments, unleashing non-governmental rural forces, and exploring a paradigm of rural governance through various channels. 1. Rural development needs good governance. The opening-up of villages has brought about exchanges of resources and information with the outside world. Such changes, including the flow of population in particular have brought many variables for the relatively stable village life. These variables have changed not only villagers’ daily life but also the internal and external relations of villages as well as the process and structure of social governance of villages. In the governance system, multiple entities are dependent on each other to resolve conflicts through participation in the deliberation of village affairs as well as relevant negotiation and coordination so as to create a harmonious social order. 2. The key to improving governance is getting rid of long-standing malpractices of governments. Viewing from their daily work, grassroots governments’ function is not accurately positioned. A striking problem is that they are involved in too much routine work, most of which is beyond their job and much work has no actual effects. With regard to their relations with upper-level governments and grassroots masses, much power is centralized by upper-level governments and major interests are in their hands, leaving grassroots governments much thorny problems to handle. Viewing from incentive structure, the pursuit for self-interests by governments has become the “source of all malpractices”. As regards the interaction between the government and society, the main problem is that government forces are too strong while social forces are too weak, leading to imbalance between the two forces. 3. Improving governmental governance cannot follow the old approach. Who should be in charge of rural affairs? Rural affairs should be left to rural communities and the government need not exert an overall administrative control. 4. The construction of rural areas in the new era should be realized by various social forces. The concept of governance should be targeted at “rural governance without government” in the pilot practice. The construction of grassroots organizations should not pursue a perfect organizing mode, but should turn village election into a “game played by villagers themselves” and encourage non-governmental forces respond to the call of the central government.

For more detailed information, please refer to here.