Rural governance is the cornerstone of national governance and the foundation of rural vitalization. Ensuring stability in rural areas is an important part of rural governance and a key component of modernizing the national governance system and capacity. President Xi Jinping has stressed the importance of strengthening and innovating rural governance and improving a rural governance system that combines self-governance, the rule of law and ethical standards, so rural areas will be vibrant, harmonious and orderly. Adhering to Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as the guide, the Hubei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the provincial government in recent years have earnestly implemented Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law, put into practice the spirit of President Xi's important instructions on rural grassroots governance, and gone all out to prevent risks, stabilize growth, protect security and improve people's livelihoods, which have effectively maintained the general political and social stability of the province, made historic achievements in agricultural development, and created historic changes in rural development.
First, strengthen Party building and innovate governance system
1. Highlight the leading role of Party organizations. With the goal of achieving harmony in rural areas, efforts have been made to effectively incorporate rural grassroots governance and stability into the work of Party building and carry out the "red leading wild goose" project to spearhead this progress. The top-performers who excel in getting rich and management and also have a stronger awareness of the Party were supported to be members of the village Party branch and village committee. Additional resident Party chief or task force were sent to work in a village where the leadership was weak. Efforts were made to improve grassroots Party organizations, enhance work performance, and resolve potential causes of instability at the grassroots level while making sure no time is wasted.
2. Highlight the key role of grassroots governments. Efforts were made to ensure effective coordination between administration and community self-governance, with law-based healthy interactions forged between the two fronts. Efforts were also made to advance reforms to delegate power, streamline administration and optimize government services, transform government functions, fully respect the wills of farmers, and solve the "last mile" gap that affects the people's access to services, and reinforce the "multiple pillars" sustaining stability in rural areas.
3. Highlight the role of mass organizations in self-governance. Hubei has given full play to the role of autonomous organizations such as village (community) committees, and actively led farmers to take the initiative for self-management, self-inspection, self-education and self-help. In matters of major concern to the masses, such as the village's financial accounting and the use of financial assistance, efforts were made to standardize procedures and tighten restrictions. The channels for rural social organizations to participate the management of public affairs were expanded, and the role of social organizations as regulators and stabilizers in rural stability was enhanced.
Second, keep information flow smooth and motivate roles of the masses
1. Raise the self-awareness of farmers. Various channels such as the loudspeakers, noticeboards, fact sheets and online work groups were used to improve the publicity and motivate people to actively contribute to and safeguard the overall social stability. In making the information flow smooth, farmers were ensured to have the right to participate, get informed, voice opinions and vote in all issues related to village development, vital interests and main concerns of farmers.
2. Promote digital transformation of villages. With the help of technical platforms such as Xiangcunding, Tencent Wecountry and Cuncunxiang, efforts were made to pilot digital governance, publicize the agriculture support policies, subsidies, livelihood projects and other initiatives, incorporate geographical information and basic information of farmers into the information management system, and also allow farmers to access information fully, accurately, in a timely fashion and easily. Hubei also expanded the successful practices of using the internet to inspect exercise of power and the use of money, assets and resources belonging to the collective economy.
3. Improve regulations. Efforts were made to guide collective economic organizations to improve their constitution and accounting system, improve the registration system for members of such organizations, do a good job in confirming collective assets, and regulate business management in accordance with the law. Hubei has explored the working mechanism under the leadership of the village Party organization, in which the collective economic organization and the village committee each perform their respective duties and support each other. Efforts were also made to resolve debts, reduce burdens, improve regulations, and prevent resurgence of problems.
4. Support the growth of industries. Hubei has supported collective economic organizations to use conventional methods, such as resource contracting and asset leasing, and also explore new ways, such as the development of agricultural specialties, production services, property management, recreation and tourism and agriculture-based cultural endeavors. Collective economic organizations have been supported to lead, co-lead and participate in farmers' cooperatives and other market entities so as to obtain added value and increase property income.
Third, summarize the experience of governance and expand the application
1. Promote the campaign of clean governance in villages. Efforts were made to enhance the work of leading bodies and members of village-level Party organizations, remain committed to improving conduct, strengthen information disclosures regarding Party work, governance and village affairs, give full play to the role of farmers and village affairs supervision committees, advance the program of the six-pronged clean village governance campaign to reach all areas in the province by 2025.
2. Summarize and promote lists and points-based systems. Efforts were made to vigorously promote integrated governance that features "village regulations + family integrity records + points system". The four lists specify governance issues related to reduced burden, responsibilities, supervision and service. Efforts were made to carry out the "happy villages and vibrant villages” initiative, and form rural governance patterns featuring village Party organizations as the core, the village council, and three centers (village service center, comprehensive governance center, civilization practice center in the new era). Such efforts have helped explore a rural social governance model based on collaboration, participation, and common interests.
3. Enhance the publicity and education of the rule of law and ethical standards in rural areas. This included efforts to improve the systems of "one legal adviser for one village" and "one auxiliary police officer for one village." Hubei has provided farmers with the rule of law education, legal advice and legal aid, let farmers' mediation committees play the role, and resolve unstable factors in a timely manner. Efforts were also made to carry out activities to select moral models, five-good families, good neighbors, good daughters-in-law and good parents-in-law, set up a "to-do and not-to-do list", and open supermarkets that use points as incentives so as to recognize good behaviors and shame those that are backward.
Fourth, innovate work mechanism and resolve conflicts in a timely fashion
1. Give priority to prevention. Efforts were made to establish a long-term mechanism to achieve equal emphasis on emergency response and daily management so as to nip problems in the bud, formulate a risk response plan, and make every preventative effort.
2. Adopt a scientific approach. Accidents have been resolved in a timely manner and special arrangements are ready for particular issues. Periodic problems have been addressed by improving systems and methods. Long-term conflicts have been solved through ensuring the consistency of measures and continuous work.
3. Enforce rigorous accountability system. Efforts were made to establish and improve the reward and penalty system, refine the accountability system to address conflicts, and promote the scientific and efficient resolution of conflicts at the grassroots level. Efforts were also made to focus on the prominent problems faced by the masses, rectify unhealthy working styles, and seriously deal with corruption and malpractice that seriously harm the interests of the masses, such as the “small officials, big corruption” problem and those feathering their nest.
(The author is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, vice-chairperson of the CPPCC Hubei Provincial Committee, a member of the Standing Committee of the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang Central Committee, and director of the RCCK Hubei Provincial Committee. The article was translated from Chinese to English by en.cppcc.gov.cn.)
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