lørdag 24. april 2021

Rural Settlements in China Ordered to Intensify Crackdown on Religion

Many believe that their village is beautiful, but in China “beautiful village” has a different meaning. There is an official “Beautiful Village Policy,” which is part of a broader policy to create a “New Socialist Countryside (NSC),” which was included into the eleventh Five-Year Plan in 2006. The “Beautiful Village” concept was first experimented with in some provinces, went national in 2013, and is personally promoted by Xi Jinping since 2015.

The NSC policy evokes bad memories for older Chinese. It was part of Chairman Mao’s Great Leap Forward, the greatest human-made catastrophe in history, which caused according to different estimates from 15 to 55 million deaths. Xi Jinping insists that there is now a new and different NSC policy. However, the general concept remains rooted in Mao’s era. Villages are proclaimed “beautiful” if they conform to parameters decided in Beijing, not at the local levels. There is a complicated system of points. 1,000 points are available, and in order to be declared a “Beautiful Village” one should come close to the maximum. There are a number of advantages in becoming a “Beautiful Village,” including for local leaders aspiring to be promoted.