To push forward the reform of rural taxation is a major step taken by the central government to deal with agriculture, the countryside and farmers, which is important for the reform, development and stability in rural China.
Vice-Premier Wen Jiabao made the remarks at a national conference on experiments in reforming rural taxation which was convened February 17-19 in Hefei, capital city of Anhui Province, east China.
Anhui, the cradle of the two-decades-old economic reform in rural China, was made a pilot province for implementing the rural taxation reform last year.
The general guideline for the reform is to strengthen leadership, improve the policies, expand the experiments, accumulate experience, make careful arrangements, achieve coordinated progress, substantially reduce the burden on farmers, and ensure the success of the reform of rural taxation, according to the vice premier.
Wen, who is a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, urged Party committees and governments at all levels to give strategic priority to the reform which, he stressed, is of great and far-reaching importance.
Wen noted that so far the reform has made certain achievements, including a remarkable reduction of farmers' financial burdens by curbing illegal levying; an initial regularization of the relationship in rural distribution by restructuring financial and taxation authorities in rural areas; a further improvement of grassroots democracy at village level; a promotion of institutional and educational reforms at township level; and a further improvement in the relations between the Party and the rural people.
The ongoing tests in the province and some other parts of the country have accumulated a great deal of experience for overall implementation of the rural taxation reform, the official said.
The basis for the success of the reform is to follow the mass line so as to let the people correctly understand the reform, wholeheartedly advocate the reform, and actively participate in the reform, he said.
The official went on to stress the importance of carrying out the reform, saying that it is an imperative task for rural work and an important step in further deepening the country's rural reform.
It is also an effective way to protect farmers' interests and increase their incomes, as well as to ensure the general goal of maintaining long-term stability in the countryside, he said.