The decision to try rural tax reform nationwide this year would be a major reform to promote development in the countryside, Premier Wen Jiabao said at a national teleconference on rural tax reform Thursday.
Wen pointed out that the reform aimed to completely reduce farmers' financial burdens, help increase their incomes, streamline the distribution between the state, collectives and farmers, and establish an agricultural management system and operational mechanism in line with the socialist market economy, in order to further free up and develop rural productivity.
In areas where the rural tax reform was piloted, remarkable results had been achieved, resulting in a drastic drop in farmersí financial burdens and regularization of the rural tax system, according to the premier.
The trial had also brought officials and the people closer, strengthened the building of grass-roots administrations, and safeguarded social stability in the countryside, Wen said.
The practice had proved the central leadership's decision on rural tax reform was completely correct and had the heartfelt support of billions of farmers, he noted.
He said the reform should give priority to grain producing areas and grain farmers, cancel the tax levied on rural specialties, and ensure that farmers' financial burdens are reduced and kept low.
Vice Premier Hui Liangyu presided over the televised meeting, at which provincial leaders of Anhui and Jiangxi, two major grain producers, recounted their own experience of the reform.
(Xinhua News Agency April 4, 2003)