Zhejiang strides toward common prosperity
Villagers pick daylily buds at Qili town, Lishui, Zhejiang province. [Photo by Lei Ning/Lishui Daily]
Wealth gap targeted between urban and rural areas
Every day at 4 pm, a spacious village workshop in Zhejiang province becomes a hive of activity as residents age 65 and older weigh the broccoli they have picked.
Their work in Wubu village in the city of Taizhou is by no means strenuous, and an experienced person can earn up to 100 yuan ($15.50) a day.
The employment was introduced in 2017 by Taizhou Chenqi Catering Management, which teamed up with the local government to provide job opportunities for seniors in the village.
Previously, villagers lived on a basic monthly allowance of about 1,000 yuan provided by the local government, or they left the area to make a living.
Hong Ming, general manager of Taizhou Chenqi Catering, said the chopped broccoli stalks are assessed for quality before being processed into pickles and sold to neighboring areas such as Shanghai and Jiangsu province.
This business model in Wubu has been adopted in many other villages in Taizhou, he said, with the aim of providing employment for seniors in rural areas and improving their living conditions.
Hu Ou, Party chief of Ningxi county, which oversees Wubu, said that working with such companies, along with the introduction of similar projects in villages, enables residents to stay in their home areas and acquire working skills.
"Based on our experience, government policies can be adopted more efficiently when villagers' lives are significantly improved. In other words, villagers have increasing faith in the local government," she said.
The progress made in Wubu is just one example of steps taken by the authorities in Zhejiang to realize common prosperity.
On Feb 25, President Xi Jinping, addressing a gathering to mark the nation's achievements in eradicating poverty and to commend outstanding efforts by individuals, said China upholds a people-centered development philosophy. It unswervingly pursues prosperity for all, with the emphasis on ending poverty, improving people's well-being and realizing common prosperity being the essential requirements of socialism.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, stressed at the gathering the importance of integrating the consolidation of poverty alleviation achievements and rural vitalization.
On June 10, a decision to establish Zhejiang as a demonstration zone for common prosperity was announced in a guideline jointly released by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, China's Cabinet.
The decision came as the nation works toward the goal of tackling development problems and narrowing the wealth gap between urban and rural areas after eradicating extreme poverty last year.