Asia File: 'Jobless' enters Peking lexicon

ONCE, there were no unemployed in China, only those described as 'waiting for work' or 'resting'. Now 'unemployment' has entered the party lexicon and this week the Ministry of Labour issued its most pessimistic projection on job prospects in the new China.

By the year 2000 the ministry expects 268 million jobless - that is, more than the population of the United States. The most worrying increase will be among city residents. This year it is expected to jump by one quarter to 5 million, but by the year 2000 the ministry expects it to reach 68 million. In the countryside, 200 million are expected to be without work by the turn of the century.

Such statistics fail to describe fully what is happening. There are at least 60 million rural migrants floating around China looking for work in the cities; another 30 million from small towns are also on the move. An unknown proportion fail to find jobs but do not feature in this year's jobless figures.

China's rapid economic growth cannot soak up the huge numbers of unemployed and has not improved prospects for the millions of under-employed in loss-making state enterprises.

ASIDE FROM Taslima Nasrin, few people are more relieved about the feminist writer's escape from Dhaka to Sweden than the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Begum Khaleda Zia. Mrs Zia was under pressure from foreign governments to ensure Ms Nasrin's safety from Muslim fundamentalists who were baying for her death. Aid donors made it clear that if any harm came to Ms Nasrin, it might jeopardise handouts. Ms Nasrin provoked the fundamentalists with her outspoken views on the Koran. This week, she received a writers' prize in Stockholm where her location is being kept quiet; extremists have called upon Sweden's 200,000 Muslims to help bring 'the infidel' back to Dhaka.

NICK NUGENT, a senior BBC representative, is in Afghanistan to seek guarantees from faction leaders that journalists from foreign news organisations can operate safely. This follows the murder last month of Mirwais Jalil, a freelance correspondent for the BBC's Pashto and Persian services - the first time, World Service executives believe, a correspondent has been killed because of their work for the BBC. It is unlikely that Mr Jalil's murderers will be brought to account, but a fund is planned in his memory to train young Afghan journalists. Details are available from the Mirwais Jalil Trust Fund, BBC World Service, Bush House, London WC2.

IT'S the silly season in China too, and there has been a run on pig's feet in the markets of Chifeng in Inner Mongolia after word spread that Chairman Mao Zedong and General Chiang Kai-shek were preparing to do battle in the netherworld. According to a report in the official China Commercial News, an un- named medium passed on the news that the two former adversaries were in need of earthly recruits to go over to the other side for military service.

There was only one way for a man to avoid such conscription; he must eat 98 special dumplings made by his mother and two pig's feet provided by his mother-in-law. 'All the butchers' shops have had very good business, and are always crowded with old women,' the newspaper said. Could this simply be a clever ruse by the city's pig's feet sellers? Any breach of the 'law against unfair competition' should be dealt with by the courts, thundered the newspaper. 'Otherwise, tomorrow maybe horse's feet and donkey's feet will also be popular.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Voices
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
News
i100
Life and Style
Great minds like Einstein don't think alike
tech
News
Missing: 'Mail' columnist Peter Hitchens
election 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds This i...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power