Will they only be drops in the bucket? Or can they make a difference? Whatever the case may be, China’s official vision of a rural modernisation based on fewer peasants and more industrialised agriculture has not changed. The only question that the political leadership is trying to answer is: How to get there without ever-growing social disruptions?

“New Socialist Countryside” and “Revitalisation of the Countryside”
“Building a New Socialist Countryside” was the rural development programme of the political leadership under President Hu Jintao (in office 2003–2013). The programme combined different old and new reform initiatives in the fields of infrastructure, housing, social welfare and agricultural restructuring. It was heavily subsidised and implemented in a campaign-like manner. At the time, it presented a new political awareness of the rural crisis.

In 2018, the current leadership under President Xi Jinping introduced the “Revitalisation of the Countryside” programme. Many aspects resemble earlier polices.