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December 29, 2009

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Help pledged to rural areas

CHINA'S government will step up efforts to stimulate rural consumption and raise rural living standards to promote economic growth and ensure social stability, said a statement released yesterday at the conclusion of the Central Conference on Rural Work.

"The remarkable achievement of the nation's rural development had consolidated the basis for the economic recovery, and contributed to social harmony and stability," said the statement.

The government will continue to improve farmers' lives as a crucial plank in its efforts to rebalance income distribution, said the statement.

It will keep stimulating rural consumption, which was significant to drive domestic demand, according to the two-day meeting which laid out work for next year's agricultural and rural development.

"Despite the impacts of the economic downturn and the severe drought that hit central and north China early this year, rural development was sound and maintaining good momentum," said the statement.

Grain yield this year was expected to hit a record 530.8 billion kilograms, which would be the sixth consecutive year of output growth, it said.

The per capita annual net income of Chinese farmers rose to a high of 5,000 yuan (US$735), up more than 6 percent from a year ago.

The statement also described the situation for the agriculture and rural development as grim, as new problems continued to emerge, and some were unpredictable, adding the work for 2010 would be rather "complicated" and "difficult."

Although rural residents comprise more than 70 percent of China's population, public resources conventionally lean to the better-developed urban areas.

That leaves a widening gap between the two, a perennial matter the government has vowed to solve.


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