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

You Are Here: Home > Publications> Articles

Farmers’ Involvement Is the Fundamental Driver for Township Reform


By Zhao Shukai

Reviewing the past twenty years and more with the township reform history, it could be found that twice efforts have been made in the reform but only half the result has been achieved and the key reason lies in the fact that numerous “reform measures” are not driven by internal factors, but by instructions of upper-level governments so that township governments have to fulfill their jobs but with a perfunctory attitude. It is held that if farmers are encouraged to get involved in the deliberation of township affairs, the government reform will gain tremendous impetus. With regard to rural development, the model of farmers’ involvement has been introduced to China’s for quite a number of years. This development model focuses on farmers’ subjectivity in community development, stressing that “problems” are brought up by farmers and “solutions” are sought by farmers, which has become a key working principle in village building. However, such a model is mainly reflected in the community level for resolving the problems within villages relating to public management and economic development. Beyond the village, this model has not been directly applied to the government work or positively implemented in the improvement of government operation. In many cases, the community-level governments’ performance has constituted conflicts with rural development. Due to flaws in government structure and behavior, some government personnel have become direct predators of rural development resources. Therefore, the key question is not whether government officials understand the involvement mode for development, but how to transform government performance and get aligned with public goals. In terms of involvement development model, a new issue for rural development in China is to allow farmers to get involved in government’s innovation. It is a challenging issue with innovative significance to get farmers’ involvement for government development. Mobilizing farmers to take direct part in community-level reform and promoting community development through government reform are necessary approaches to establishing service-oriented government. Despite huge difficulties in government reform, there are several positive factors. First, farmers have strong willingness and expectations for township reform. Second, within the community-level governments, a certain number of officials have a strong desire for reform due to huge fiscal pressure and their clear awareness of the government system’s flaws. Third, the central government has in recent years made great efforts to advance community-level democracy, which has not only provided the farmers with more say in government innovation in terms of main-stream ideology, but also become a training venue for them to know about and participate in government reform.

For more detailed information, please refer to here.