Rural youth encouraged to become self-employed


Many young people in rural China hold the belief that earning money in a city is the only way to be able to afford a home and family. Not Li Shuhua.

The 30-year-old, who was born in Xishan Village of Lianhua County in east China's Jiangxi Province, decided to run his own ecological farm in his hometown after four years of work experience at horticultural companies in Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces.

"I decided on the farm because of people's growing awareness of food safety which has made green agricultural produce more competitive," said Li, who was educated at Jiangxi University of Science and Technology.

Li's farm covers an area of 1.3 hectares, primarily growing ecological grapes and breeding pigs with an annual income of about 200,000 yuan (32,660 U.S. dollars).

More than half of the 1,000 villagers in Xishan have swarmed to southeastern coastal cities to seek better-paid jobs in the past year.

This is typical of villages in China.

However, with the current record-high 6.99 million graduates struggling to secure decent jobs in cities, Li's self-employment experience is an inspiration for many.

As the pressure of finding a job grows, more graduates are choosing to go back home to realize their dreams.

The Chinese government has promised to recruit more university graduates who have taken on leadership roles in the countryside in a bid to encourage more college students to work in rural communities after graduating.

About 10 to 12 percent of newly recruited public servants in the country this year will be college graduates who will have had experience of working as "village officials," according to the State Administration of Civil Service.

The number of university students with official positions in rural communities is expected to increase to 600,000 by 2020 from the current 200,000, according to the administration.

Wu Yongming, vice chairman of the Jiangxi Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, said that more talent is needed in rural areas, especially those specializing in agricultural, medical and educational fields.

"In order to gather grassroots experience, it is also necessary for the Chinese youth to find employment or start a business in rural areas," Wu said.

During talks with young representatives on Chinese Youth Day on May 4, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he pinned his hope on the Chinese youth for innovation and national advancement.

The president expects the young generation to make great accomplishments, and encouraged them to work at the grassroots and the front line in order to hone their skills and enhance abilities required for furthering their career.

"Young people should emancipate the mind, advance with the times, forge ahead and innovate so as to gather experience and make achievements," he said.