In recent years, the Chinese government has been stepping up its efforts to promote rural vitalization and food safety through legislation. The National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s top legislative body, has played a leading role in this initiative, passing several laws aimed at improving the quality of agricultural development and maintaining state security.
One of the most significant pieces of legislation passed by the NPC is the law on the promotion of rural vitalization. After about three years of research and frequent reviews of drafts, the law was passed by the Standing Committee of the NPC in April 2021. Two months later, the law came into effect.
Before the adoption, the NPC’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, which created the law, solicited opinions on various aspects of agriculture from many walks of life to ensure that public voices could be heard. As a fundamental and comprehensive law on agriculture, the 74-article document calls for maintaining a vigorous market in rural areas while increasing the incomes and living standards of rural residents. It also highlights the importance of talent support, environmental protection, and urban-rural integration.
In addition, the law requires more care and better services to be given to left-behind children, women, and old people in rural areas. To guarantee the implementation of the law, the committee invited seven NPC deputies and officials from grassroots departments to attend a seminar in May 2021. They were encouraged to help popularize and explain the new law to rural residents, according to He Baoyu, an official from the NPC’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
The NPC’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee has also prioritized grain safety and has formulated and revised laws in the past five years. Food security is essential to all individuals and state security, and the committee has put in place measures to ensure it. For instance, the committee accelerated making a law on black soil in March 2021, aiming to urgently and fully protect the soil that contains a high percentage of humus, phosphorus, and ammonia and can produce high agricultural yield with its high moisture storage capacity. After the draft was reviewed by the NPC Standing Committee three times, it became a law in June 2022 and took effect two months later.
The committee has also played a leading role in amending the Seed Law. The revised law, which was passed in November 2021 and came into effect in March last year, provides more support for innovating and protecting new varieties of plants, with harsher punishments against infringers in this regard.
Moreover, the formulation of a law to guarantee grain safety is in progress. A few issues, including reducing food losses, enhancing food reserves, and protecting food facilities, have all been discussed among lawmakers during the draft-making period, said Zhang Fugui, an official from the NPC’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, adding that major suggestions have been put into a draft of the law.
Since 2018, the committee has also intensified inspections on legal implementation, such as those on fisheries, quality of agricultural products, and animal husbandry, to check whether the laws worked effectively and what needed to be further improved, Zhang said.
Overall, the efforts by Chinese lawmakers to promote legislation for rural vitalization and food safety are part of a broader initiative to enhance the quality of life for rural residents and promote sustainable agricultural development. The measures put in place by the NPC’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee reflect the government’s commitment to improving food security and maintaining state security.