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Chinese economist urges protection of rural residents' rights in urbanization

Source:   Time:

ST. PETERSBURG, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Guaranteeing the rights of rural residents is the most important issue in the urbanization process, a renowned Chinese economist said here Monday.

Rights come first, settling household registration differences comes second, and then erasing differences between residence permits should follow, Li Yining suggested at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance.

"First we need to clear up rights to reside, rights to run businesses, and residential ownership rights; then we can worry about gradually harmonizing the two-tiered registration system in accordance with trends in urbanization," Li told reporters.

Li said he believes that once these rights are guaranteed, rural residents will be more readily able to diversify their sources of income, using land for agriculture or renting their properties out to allow them to look for jobs.

Farming in future will not be a social status identity, but one of professions, Li said.

High-tech farming and rural cooperatives will become full-fledged industries in China, and agricultural yields are set to improve exponentially in the years ahead, he said.

Li gave a lecture on Monday at the university on the theme of "Chinese Economic Reforms and Development," briefing hundreds of students and teachers on China's current economic situation and the future direction of reform.

His topics covered income and income distribution in China, the rights of rural residents, harmonization of China's two-tiered household registration system, prospects for rural China and the reform of state-owned enterprises.

Before the lecture, Li was awarded an honorary title by the university.

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