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Animal Husbandry     Crop Cultivation    Aquatic Products     Township Enterprises


Introduction : In 1949, China’s grain output was 113.18 million tons, and that of cotton 444,000 tons; the agricultural foundation was fragile. Between 1950 and 1953, the Chinese government carried out a wide-ranging land reform in the rural areas. Peasants with little or no land were given land of their own, greatly arousing their enthusiasm for production. During the period of the First Five-Year Plan (1953-57), the yearly gross output of agriculture increased by 4.5 percent, on average. This period was the first “golden time” for China’s agricultural development.

From 1958 to 1978, China’s agriculture developed slowly. During this period, China practiced the cooperative and people’s commune systems in rural areas successively, which emphasized the effectiveness of centralized and unified management, but reduced the efficiency of resource utilization and allocation. As a result, the peasants’ enthusiasm for production was greatly dampened. In this period, the gross agricultural output value increased by only 2.3 percent, on average, every year.

The rise of township enterprises has promoted the all-round development of the agricultural economy. In 1987, the gross output value of township enterprises exceeded that of farming; in 1990, the township enterprises earned 13 billion US dollars from exports, about 23.8 percent of the national gross value of foreign exchange earned from exports. Thousands of towns are playing an important role in eliminating the differences between urban and rural areas, and promoting the integration of urban and rural areas. The per capita net income of farmers increased from 134 yuan in 1978 to 2,210 yuan in 1999.

Increases in Output of Major Agricultural Products (10,000 tons)













Oil-Bearing Crops












Flue-Cured Tobacco
















Aquatic Products




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Animal Husbandry

China has more than 300 million ha of exploitable grasslands, distributed mainly throughout Inner Mongolia, the basin between the Tianshan and Altay Mountains in Xinjiang and on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. China has great numbers of over 400 species of domestic animals, including pigs, cattle, sheep, horses, donkeys, mules, camels, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits. Since 1978, animal husbandry has developed rapidly; the outputs of meat, eggs, milk and leather products have doubled and redoubled, and they have been exported in large quantities.

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Crop Cultivation

China is a country of large population and many political parties. Before the state adopts important measures or makes decisions on issues having a bearing on the national economy and the people’s livelihood, the CPC, as the party in power, consults with representatives of all ethnic groups, political parties and non-Party personages, and all other social sectors, in order to reach a common understanding. This system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation led by the CPC is a basic political system in China.Multi-party cooperation and political consultation take two principal forms: (1) The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC); (2) consultative conferences and forums participated in by non-Communist parties and unaffiliated democrats at the invitation of the CPC Central Committee and local Party committees. The CPPCC is neither a state organ, nor an ordinary mass organization. It is a widely representative, patriotic united front organization of the Chinese people, first established in September 1949. The CPPCC has a national committee and local committees established in the provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government and counties (cities). The CPPCC consists of representatives of the CPC, the non-Communist parties, unaffiliated individuals, people’s organizations, ethnic minorities and other social strata, compatriots from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, returned overseas Chinese, and specially invited individuals. The committees at various levels hold plenary sessions once a year. When the committee is not in session, special activities for the committee members are organized, including inspection tours of various localities. Consultative discussions are held on significant issues relating to major state policies, important local affairs, the people’s livelihood and united front work. Democratic supervision is exercised over the work of state organs and the fulfillment of the Constitution and laws through the offering of opinions, proposals and criticisms. When the people’s congresses are convened, CPPCC committee members are invited to attend and fully air their views. The current chairman of the CPPCC National Committee is Li Ruihuan. Once a year, the leaders of the CPC Central Committee invite the leaders of the non-Communist parties and representatives of non-Party democrats to meetings for consultation; forums are held every other month. The former focus on major state policies; the latter on information exchanges, reception of policy proposals and discussion of certain special issues.

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Aquatic Products

Before the introduction of the reform and opening, the outputs of freshwater and saltwater fish, relying on natural rivers, lakes and fisheries near the sea, were low. But since 1978, China has stressed artificial aquatic products breeding and at the same time devoted great efforts to developing deep-sea fishing. As a result, the output of aquatic products has risen greatly, increasing by two million tons, on average, every year. Now, more than 20 deep-sea fishing companies have been set up in China, and wholly Chinese-owned and Chinese-foreign joint enterprises have also been established abroad engaging in this business.

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Township Enterprises

China’s township enterprises have developed on the basis of the handicrafts industry and the processing of agricultural products and by-products. They have flourished since 1978, becoming the mainstays of the rural economy. In 1999, 2,500 billion yuan in industrial output value was produced by the township enterprises, and the value of exported commodities came to 720 billion yuan. Now there are more than 20 million township enterprises in China, having 125 million employees. Township enterprises are involved in industry, agriculture and transportation, along with the building, commerce, and catering trades. They produce a variety of goods, from products needed in agriculture to daily necessities, foodstuffs, sideline products and light industrial materials. Many of these products are exported.

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  Information provided by China National Tourism Administration.


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