China to Abolish Contentious Agricultural Levy – Ching-Ching Ni

From the Los Angeles Times:

The Chinese government Thursday approved plans to abolish the agricultural tax, a centuries-old levy imposed on farmers that communist authorities had continued for more than five decades.

China’s rural population of 900 million has largely been on the losing end of the country’s dramatic economic growth, which has created huge gaps in wealth that could threaten the country’s stability.

Since coming to power nearly three years ago, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have made it a priority to raise farm incomes and reduce unrest. As many as 74,000 protests broke out across the country last year, in large part because of rural discontent.

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