Chinese leaders told to heed disgruntled farmers
Wednesday 20 October 1993
Jiang Zemin, in a speech widely reported in the official media yesterday, said China's economic reforms had posed new contradictions and problems for agriculture. Their solution, he warned, had a direct bearing on the 'stability and prosperity of the whole country'.
His comments came as the central government is struggling to ensure that the peasants are properly paid for this autumn's harvest.
'Top leaders at all levels of government must personally take charge of agricultural and rural works,' Mr Jiang said. Most of the problems alluded to by the Communist Party chief, who is also China's President, have been in evidence for well over a year, but a high-profile official campaign to improve peasants' lifestyles has so far had limited success.
China's 900 million farmers, who were among the first to benefit from economic reform in the early 1980s, when they were allowed to take control of their land and sell produce on the open market, now find themselves rapidly slipping behind the fast-growing urban regions.
This wealth gap has been exacerbated by extortionate and arbitrary taxes levied on farmers by local authorities desperate to raise funds to invest in the speculative real-estate and business ventures that have sprung up with the economic reforms.
The most widespread source of rural misery has been the practice of using worthless IOUs to pay for the proportion of staple crops still sold to the state under the agricultural quota system. President Jiang's forthright warning, issued at a national conference on agriculture held by the Communist Party Central Committee this week, comes just as China's second harvest for the year is being collected and follows efforts by the central authorities to discourage local governments from issuing any more IOUs this year.
Rural protests over the past year have already resulted in near-riots by increasingly impoverished farmers in some areas. Concern about social stability and fears that Communist Party support is fast eroding among the peasants appeared to be behind Mr Jiang's announcement that grassroots government and party organisations would be re-established in rural areas within the next five years.
Last week the People's Bank of China's vice-president, Dai Xianglong, said that at least 110bn yuan (about pounds 10bn) would be needed this autumn to purchase the main agricultural products such as rice, maize, soya and cotton.
This month's harvest is better than expected: grain output will fall only 10 million tonnes from the 340 million tonnes produced during the same period last year, even though some farmers did not bother to cultivate their land because of the lack of financial incentive.
- 3 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 4 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 5 Medina: Saudis take a bulldozer to Islam's history
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- < Previous
- Next >
£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...
£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...
£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...