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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 17. July 18th, 1973



The principle of self-reliance, of emphasising the capacity of people to solve their problems collectively rather than relying on orders from the top or foreign technology and aid is one of the most important principles of socialist development in the People's Republic. We saw examples of this principle being put into practice at the Hsien Chiao commune, 15 kilometres from Canton city.

The most important task of this commune of 53,000 people with over 80,000 acres of cultivated land producing fruit and vegetables is to provide food for the three million people in Canton. But that does not mean that the people of this commune simply carry out the orders of the municipal administrators and produce what they're told to produce.

Cartoon of a Chinese woman dancing while holding flowers and a lantern

The products the commune specialises in are determined by the needs of the city, the historical conditions of the area (i.e. what crops have traditionally grown well) and the local decision of the commune members. While the planning code for the local district is decided by a 'higher authority', the details of production are determined by the local commune. The planning authority in Canton provides guidelines for production rather than handing down detailed instructions.