Evergreen Township

Evergreen Township is located in Beijing’s western suburbs near the Summer Palace. It is named “Evergreen” because it supplies fresh vegetables to the city’s residents all the year round.
The township covers an area of 72.6 square kilometres with 2,400 hectares of cultivated land.  It has 13,000 households with 46,000 people, more than 26,000 of them are able bodied. The town-ship mainly grows vegetables, but also has a forestry programme, breeds livestock, does sideline production and runs a fishery. It is a joint agricultural, industrial and commercial undertaking.
The township is a collectively-owned unit which was merged from six advanced agricultural producers’ cooperatives in 1958. To keep track of growing production the township has become the basic ac-counting unit since 1978. Also introduced was zoning, specialized production.
Under the township there are eight vegetable-growing production brigades, two grain production centres, an agricultural experimental centre, a farm machinery repair station, a fruit and forestry company, an animal husbandry and native produce company, an industrial company, a construction company and a service centre.
The Evergreen township is known in Beijing for its large-scale vegetable production. It has 1,450 hectares of vegetable fields, which supply 130,000 tons of vegetables to the city every year in more than130 varieties. The ground covered with plastic sheets during winter. One hot-house built in 1979 has extended the winter vegetable growing acreage of 250 hectares.
The township devotes 500 hectares of land to the growing of grain crops. In 1991 the average output was 10 tons per hectare.
It harvested more than 7,000 tons of fruit and raised 70,000 Beijing ducks and a large number of chickens, cows and fish in 1991. It also operates factories that make metal structures, motor-vehicle parts, plastic and chemical products.
The township has 400 wells. Now 98% of its farmland has been brought under irrigation. It owns 170 trucks. 58 tractors, 179 walking tractors, 11 combines and has mechanized most of its agriculture.
The township has introduced various systems of responsibility for agricultural production. Groups or individual households sign contracts with the township according to specialized functions and the in-come of the labourers is closely linked with the results of their own harvests.  The average income of each labourer for 1991 was more than 2,500 yuan.
The township members get additional income from private plots and sideline production. The township has benefits for members including free primary and secondary school education, free nursery care, free medical treatment, 56-day maternity leave with full pay and retirement pensions.
Responsibility System
The system of responsibility in agricultural production is a form of management adopted for the collective economy. It offers a diverse and flexible organization of labour and payment methods which are popular among the peasants. This system was widely introduced in China’s Rural Areas After 1979.
The general practice is to reduce the size of the labour groups in the production team, which is currently the basic accounting unit in the countryside and which is in charge of 20 to 30 households. A group formed voluntarily by several peasant households, individual farmer households or individual farmer regularly make a contract to undertake a certain production task with the production team. According to the terms of the contract, the contractor has certain rights and responsibilities. He is paid for his actual work and will be awarded for over-fulfilling production target and will compensate for reduced production, so as to ensure more pay for more work. The farmer is bound to honour the time set in the contract but is free to arrange his own work schedule. This represents a change from the customary practice of the past in which the team leader directed daily production and the system of payment by the day regardless of the amount or efficiency of the work.
Even though the system of fixing output quotas based on house-holds or individuals has been adopted, the public ownership of the means of production will not change. The farmers only have the right to use, not to buy, sell or transfer, the land, farm machinery and farm tools, and irrigation facilities, owned by the production team.
The production team can retain a certain amount of the accumulation funds and use them to develop production, improve public welfare and help those families with financial difficulties.
Since the Third Plenary Session of the llth Party Central Committee held in December 1978, the Party has adopted flexible rural economic policies, raised the government buying prices of agricultural and sideline products, relegated decision-making power for agriculture to the gra9s-roots level and reaffirmed the principle of “to each according to his work” so as to overcome absolute equalitarianism.
Generally speaking, there are two different categories: the system of reponsibility in output quotas;the system of responsibility in production task.
The main forms:
1.  Adopt the system of responsibility for a special line of production under a contract. The farmers should voluntarily organize them-selves into groups based on a division of labour and specialization and undertake tasks given by the production teams.
2. Practise the system of assigning output quotas to individual able-bodied labourers under the unified administration of the production teams. (More or less similar to the piece-work wage system in factories.)  
3. Introduce the system of fixing output quotas based on house-holds or on individuals, implement a responsibility system which fixes output quotas on the household basis
4. Institute the system of responsibility of work groups with fixed rate of payment and awards for extra production.
5. The all-round contract system created in practice by the masses was initiated in outlying poverty-stricken areas and soon spread to well-off areas that are more developed economically. This has become the principal form of the responsibility system in most rural areas, adopted not only by economically backward brigades and teams that engage in one-crop farming, but also popularized in turn among economically advanced brigades and teams that have a highly specialized division of labour.
In the course of this process, the all-round contract method has been enriched and refined into a form of production responsibility contracted by a household or group under unified or separate management, or a combination of both, where payment is reckoned according to output, and the households or groups contribute a fixed share to the collective and State. Diverse in form, this contract system is invariably characterized by direct benefits, clearly defined responsibilities and simple procedures. It gives the farmers decision-making power in distribution. With great flexibility, adaptability and vitality, the system has yielded satisfactory results.
This system eliminated two long-standing problems which have hindered China’s agricultural development: equalitarianism in distribution and the issuing of commands by rural cadres and government officials.
These policies ensured the farmers’ significant material benefits and decision-making powers on the production and operation collectives.                                        

With some experience of the new system, the farmers themselves identify three advantages for the house holds quota method:
-Serves immediate interests of the farmers. After handing over a set proportion to the State and the collective according to contract, the Peasants can keep all the remaining products of their labour. Their income depends directly on their work. The old equalitarianism, which meant no differences in income whether one did a good job or a sloppy job, is gone. Because quotas include allocations to the collective, funds are still available for public welfare and subsidies to families and individuals with financial difficulties, maintaining the superiority of the collective economy.
-Fixes responsibilities. The new system has solved the problems of ill-defined responsibilities and low labour efficiency.  Instead of leaving everything to the leaders, the farmers themselves now take the initiative in deciding such things as hours of work, crop rotation and the use of more scientific farming method.
-Is easy to administer. Instead of trying to manage every aspect of farm Production, production team leaders can concentrate on overall Planning for the team, while leaving details of farm work to each household. Contracts are drawn tip in clear and simple language, and are signed once a year. This system of management seems more suit-able for poor and backward areas.
The vast areas are moving towards specialization and socialization of commodity production, and this is the general trend of China’s socialist agriculture.
The distinction between socialism and capitalism is not decided by collective or individual labour, but by the form of ownership of land and other major means of production and by whether there is exploition or not.                                               

The government policy is that this system will remain unchanged for a relatively 1ong period of time. How long the period will be and when and how it will be changed depend on the wishes of the farmers.
China’s agriculture has two salient features:
First, Per-capita acreage of cultivated land is fairly limited, while mountain areas, water surfaces and grassland, which abound in natural resources, account for about 90 per cent of the total territory.
Second, it is backward in both technology and equipment, but has a huge labour force. One more important feature is that both the State and the farmers are rather poor. All this necessitates the principle of developing agriculture in a comprehensive way.
The main idea of the principle is this: While making full use of existing farmland, major effort should be devoted to tapping the potential of other land and sea areas so as to simultaneously develop farming, forestry, animal husbandry, fishery, industry and sideline occupations. We should gradually equip agriculture with industrial goods in the light of the financial ability of the State and the collective and the production capacity of the various industrial sectors.
“Class polarization” is the outcome of the private ownership of the means of production. It is, in essence, a class contradiction resulting from holders of the means of production exploiting the surplus value created by the labour of others. But in China today, the major means of farm production–land, water conservancy facilities and large farm implements–have long been publicly owned and the peasants can use them but are not allowed to rent them out or sell them. The responsibility system excludes the possibility of getting rich by exploiting others and therefore, class polarization will not take place.
Although the difference between the poor and the rich in China has much to do with natural and historical factors, it is essentially a manifestation of the difference in people’s physical ability and labour skills. This difference is unavoidable in socialist society. It shows the way to become prosperous by one’s sweat and, in this sense, it is a prime mover for the growth of production.
The introduction of various forms of the responsibility system in farm production has done away with the longstanding practice of “eating from the same big pot” with everyone getting the same pay without making any distinction regarding the amount and quality of the work done.

The establishment of township functions of communes began in 1982 to take over the governmental in keeping with .a decision of the fifth session of the Fifth National People’s Congress. It is regarded as one of the two most important economic reforms in rural areas. The other is the production responsibility system based on the principle of more earnings for more work. By the end of 1984, more than 90,000townships had been established throughout China.
People’s communes, totalling about 54,000, were first introduced in 1958. They had been rural grass-root units of power ever since, integrating governmental administration with economic management.
The integration weakened political and administrative functions of grass-root units, even though communes did at a certain stage con-tribute to rural economic progress. The great changes in rural areas in the last few years made commune administrations ill-suited to present production practices and harmful to further development of the rural economy. Before 1977, the communes tried to control everything, ranging from Communist Party organization matters to farming plans, but nothing was done effectively. Over-concentration of power naturally led to economic stagnation.
The separation of political and economic functions has made it possible for the Party township committees to concentrate on purely Party affairs, ensuring that the Party’s political policies are implemented. As a result, civil administration is becoming the township government’s responsibility, while farmers are making their own production and marketing decisions.
A township government usually consists of 10 persons holding office for a three-year term. They are mainly concerned with all-round planning of the local economy, taxes, markets, disaster, relief, public security, welfare and health, culture, and education.
There are also about 700,000 village committees in China. These are self-management mass organizations.
Villagers’ Committee
Like neighbourhood committees in urban areas, villagers’ committees are controlled by the villagers themselves. Their major tasks are to set up committees for people’s mediation, public security, public affairs and social services in their areas, to mediate civil disputes, to help maintain public order and to convey the-residents’ opinions and demands and made suggestions to the people’s governmet.

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