Charities can help revitalize China’s rural areas

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“Charitable organizations are an important platform for companies and people to participate in rural revitalization and are vital for integrating funds, resources, and expertise,” said Li Xiaolin.

Li is a Delegate to the National People’s Congress, director of the Foreign Liaison Committee of China National Democratic Construction Association, president of China E-commerce Rural Revitalization Alliance, and vice-president of China Charity Federation. In a recent interview, he shared his thoughts on the role charities and e-commerce can play in revitalizing China’s rural areas.

E-commerce is the new engine for rural development

In 2021, China’s rural e-commerce retail sales reached 2.05 trillion yuan ($29.30 billion). The development of e-commerce has helped industrial products flow to the countryside and agricultural produce to urban areas.

Rural e-commerce needs to invest more in agriculture, using digital technology to help farmers insulate risks and develop smarter ways of farming. By putting more effort into agriculture development, rural e-commerce enables consumers to access the best products and farmers to have a stable cash flow.

To improve rural e-commerce, workers with more advanced skills are required. Rural e-commerce should attract people with advanced skills and help them to find suitable jobs in planting, farming, logistics, livestreaming, and property development for vacation rentals.

Charities fulfill a broad range of roles

In Li’s opinion, rural revitalization, education, healthcare, women’s and children’s rights, traditional culture, employment, and environmental protection, are all within the scope of charity operations. And Chinese charities should fully utilize their resources and guide businesses and individuals to serve in these areas.

“In the implementation of the rural revitalization strategy, Party committees and government at all levels will play a leading role. Businesses, NGOs, charitable organizations and rural organizations should act to their respective strengths and work together to achieve rural revitalization,” Li explained. The overall trend is to integrate all resources accessible to direct them to rural areas, to agriculture, and to farmers.

Since 2021, an increasing proportion of donations have gone to rural revitalization. In this process, businesses are the main donors. Charities are the organizers capable of integrating diverse resources. Rural organizations are the specific implementers most familiar with the local conditions. The cooperation among the three parties creates a sustainable cycle.

Li put forward three suggestions to enhance this cooperation. The first is to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of donations by improving transparency and standardization. Secondly, there should be new models to enact different components of the industry supply chain. Lastly, resources including talent, investment, and medical supplies should be integrated and directed to rural areas.