The interests of farmers must be protected in reforming the system of collectively owned rural assets, and a market economy-oriented approach should be used in the reform, Vice Premier Wang Yang said Tuesday.
The reform is an important step to improve the nation's basic rural operation system and protect farmers' rights, Wang said at a meeting on the topic, adding that the reform should be pushed forward in an orderly manner.
A clearly defined, well-functioning and strongly protected property rights system in rural areas should gradually be established to promote development of the Chinese rural economy and sustained growth of farmers' incomes, Wang said.
Strong leadership is needed in this wide-reaching reform, and verification of assets owned by villages should be carried out in an all-around way, he said.
Reforming collectively-owned rural operating assets through share-holding cooperatives should progress in an orderly manner starting from small-scale pilot schemes, respecting the will and innovation of farmers, Wang said.
In China, rural collective assets consist of resource assets such as land, forest, hills and grassland; operating assets such as buildings,machinery, rural infrastructure and enterprises; and non-operating assets such as those used for education, science, technology and other public purposes.
China is promoting the reform to help farmers increase incomes and reduce the urban-rural income gap. Prior to the reform, farmers were only owners of operating assets in name, which they could not operate or profit from, experts said.