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China seeks participation of professional talents in rural development

New buildings in Dongziguan village Photo:

China's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has released a document calling for a wider participation of professionals in rural construction, in demonstration of the great importance the Communist Party of China attaches to villages and farmers.

"Licensed planners, licensed architects, artists and far-sighted people loving villages are encouraged to take part in rural planning and provide field technical guidance," said the document.

In the document, the ministry expressed discontent over the rigid duplication of city buildings in many villages, demanding that the rural architectural styles should be in harmony with the local characteristics.

The document could be seen as a renewed effort by the authorities to effectively implement a three-year action plan, which was rolled out in February and is aimed at improving the residential environment in China's rural areas that are notorious for being dirty and disorderly.

The action plan, which is described by the State Council as an integral part of the country's village revitalization strategy, outlines four remedies needed for scientific reconstruction of villages. One remedy is inviting technical talents to offer suggestions and guidance out of respect to the improvement of dwelling environment in villages.

Villages are required to complete the compilation and revision of their reconstruction plans by 2020, which will lead to a big improvement in villagers' living environment and increase in their awareness for healthy life.

Over the recent years, architects and artists have played a big role in modifying backward villages in China.

Dongziguan village, which is located in economically developed city of Hangzhou, the capital of East China's Zhejiang province, invited an architectural firm to design an architectural complex characterized by the local features. The complex will be used as homestays for tourists, according to domestic media reports. The reconstruction project of Dongziguan village was endorsed by the Hangzhou government, which offered subsidies of 10 million yuan, and could be seen as an exemplary sample for other villages.

Zhejiang province spearheaded the initiative to rebuild villages. In 2015, the provincial government formulated an action plan to build "beautiful villages", according to which 1,000 livable demonstration villages would be built by the end of 2017.

A research report released by iResearch Consulting Group predicts that China would construct at least 1,200 cultural and tourist towns by 2020, which are expected to generate annual revenues of 120 billion yuan in 2021.

In a previous document, the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, saw the construction of such towns as a way to enhance urban-rural integration.

Xi Jinping, who took office in 2012, has long thought highly of the role of farmers and villages in the implementation of the country's revolution, construction and reforms.

Last year, Xi put forward the village revitalization strategy in his report delivered to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The strategy sets a three-step blueprint, according to which support policies will be put in place by 2020, agricultural modernization will be basically achieved by 2035 and the revitalization of rural areas will become a reality by 2050.

In a rare move this year, the Chinese government designed an exclusive festival for farmers to celebrate harvests, which falls on the autumn equinox of the Chinese lunar calendar, signaling that farmers are valued at a time when acceleration of urbanization is intensifying the exodus of young people from rural areas.

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