The future of China’s 590 million rural dwellers is an increasingly pressing issue for the government. Economic conditions in #Guizhou, one of the country’s poorest provinces, have been getting better. But persistent poverty has been a blot on President Xi’s promise to end rural poverty by 2020. For a potential leader, then, a stint in a poor, heavily rural province like Guizhou is important. One such leader, Chen Min’er, has been working to merge small family fields in Guizhou into cooperatives. Rural families became shareholders in the cooperatives, paying in by handing over some or all of their leased land. The cooperatives then used the larger acreage to produce commercial crops like tea and walnuts, paying villagers a share of returns and sometimes wages for farm work. Among other things, the experiment fits into President Xi’s vision of entrenching the party’s hold on power and restoring a spirit of socialist collectivism that harks back to Mao’s era. @bdentonphoto took this picture of workers preparing to plant rice in the small agrarian village of Zhongxin. Visit the link in our profile to read more about a potential successor to President Xi.