For 72-year-old Shao Zhiyi, a farmer from Zhitang village in Quzhou, his lackadaisical stubbornness in demolishing the unregistered and nonconforming steel shed in his backyard shifted overnight, after a live video conference broadcast throughout Quzhou depicted the scenic and futuristic changes coming to the local countryside.
"Sorry for my previous unwillingness, and you are welcome to help dismantle the shed anytime so as to ensure the village will be a picturesque place," Shao wrote in a note to the village head even before the conference concluded on June 10.
The next morning, Shao pulled down the 5-square-meter shed with the help of his fellow villagers.
"The yard got neater, and I was so relieved," he said.
The change in Shao's yard is just one of thousands that have occurred in Quzhou, a prefecture-level city in west Zhejiang province.
Since 2003 - when then Party chief of Zhejiang Xi Jinping launched the Green Rural Revival Program, with ecological development at its core - face-lift changes have taken place throughout Zhejiang, transforming the once-polluted rural area into green miracles acknowledged at the global stage.
"We've been focusing on the upgrading of rural houses and comprehensive ecosystem improvements of small towns in building the countryside of Quzhou," said Xu Wenguang, Party chief of Quzhou. Xu added that half of the city's 2.6 million people live in small towns, and Quzhou was the first in the province to adopt small town eco-rectification.
China has recently launched a pilot demonstration of rural governance and the establishment of demonstration villages and towns in rural governance, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
As part of the program, 100 county-level areas throughout the country will be chosen to explore replicable practices in rural governance. In addition, 100 townships and 1,000 villages will be selected as good examples in rural governance.
Zhang Tianzuo, director of the rural cooperative economic guidance department of the ministry, said local governments are encouraged to actively innovate and take bold actions to form replicable practices.
For China's 560 million rural population - especially for those who migrated to big cities to seek job opportunities and only come back during holidays such as the Spring Festival - working in cities for a couple of years to build their own houses in their rural villages has long been their unchanged dream and inspiration.
With the annual income for rural residents witnessing robust growth over the past two decades, scattered and crowded houses have emerged in villages and small towns around the nation, making construction of public facilities and infrastructure such as parking lots, green belts and public amusement areas difficult for local authorities.
Meanwhile, with more youth flocking to cities for better education and career prospects, more empty and neglected houses are popping up in the countryside.
Take Quzhou for example. The area for the city's registered idle rural houses had reached 1.2 million square meters by March last year, accounting for over 5 percent of the total.
"Disordered and unplanned construction has long been a vicious cycle that hinders the effective and scientific realignment of rural housing in China," said Zhou Jinyue, deputy director of the urban planning bureau in Quzhou.
Since April last year, Zhou's bureau has applied systematic planning that comprises designs for rural houses, villages and towns into the city's rural housing rectification projects.
Meanwhile, villagers can check, consult and determine the construction period, and they can even obtain loans from banks under an information sharing system that the bureau developed for rural house reconstruction.
All these measures have been successful. Within 10 months, a total of 34.6 million sq m of rural housing were renovated or redesigned, with 138,000 sq m of areas for public facilities added.
"Rural housing rectification in a planned manner ... has become a momentous mission to realize rural revitalization," said Xu Wenguang, Party chief of Quzhou. "We should always put scientific planning as our first priority, making room for more space and green areas in the process of rural revitalization."
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