Cheated on Seeds and Denied Justice, a Chinese Farmer Takes his Own Life
The story of Peng’s lonely suicide reveals the pitfalls beneath the glossy surface of China’s booming economy. Ordinary Chinese who’ve been cheated or defrauded, especially in rural areas, find themselves trapped in neo-feudal conditions with no protection beyond the mercy of corrupt officials.
Outsiders are sometimes baffled by the emphasis Chinese leaders put on order and harmony, and their crushing response to any signs of unrest. From the turmoil in a village such as Deng Zhuang, though, it’s clear that the nation sits uneasily on deep social fault lines.
In the aftermath of more than a half-dozen attacks at schools across China during the past two months, in which men walked into classrooms and hacked small children with hammers or knives, many Chinese experts pointed to the lack of social safety valves and legal means of venting frustration.
“People at the bottom of the social ladder … are deprived of their rights to speak out, of their rights to appeal and petition,” said Hu Xingdou, an economics professor at the Beijing University of Technology who specializes in issues of rural development.