Root of Farmers Poverty: Rights Poverty – Yang Tao
From Zhinong Net, translated by CDT:
A research team from the Chinese Agricultural University went into 24 townships and 60 villages in six provinces in northern, central and southern China for a survey of Chinese farmers’ rights protection. Although there has been significant progress, the survey finds, problems that still exist are pretty worrisome. It’s suggested that the effective solution would be to fundamentally change urban-rural structure and work out legislation to protect farmers’ rights. (China Youth Daily July 14).
There are many factors contributing to farmers’ poverty: natural conditions, lack of education, etc. But under current circumstances, it has a lot to do with the unequal treatment of farmers of the system. Or, the source of farmers’ poverty is the poverty of rights. [Full Text in Chinese]
Although the agricultural taxes have been abolished, the research finds, farmers in many places haven’t found their burden lessened: they still have to face wild charges of compulsory education (1st to 9-th graders), many fees and fines that are hard to explain, shoddy quality of agricultural production materials, encroachment on farmers’ land rights, etc. These are roots that contribute to a new round of rural poverty.
If there were explicit laws that protect farmers’ rights and farmers can set up their own rights protection organizations, then many problems will be solved. For instance, on wild charges in compulsory education, farmers can require education authorities to strengthen supervision at people’s congresses and hold the government accountable, and this will reduce wild charges. Rights are the most lacking and the most sought-after thing in the countryside.
Although the current laws stress the rights of farmers, but in effect there are few laws that effectively protect the rights of farmers. Farmers’ rights to elect is only one fourth of that for urban citizens. Many clauses in the villagers’ committee organization law cannot be effectively implemented and there are many cases where local governments encroaches upon farmers’ rights.
When we talk about the “three-peasant” problem and make more investment into the countryside, what’s more important is to increase and guarantee the rights of farmers and let them perform their legally protected rights. When farmers receive a “citizen’s treatment” in their rights, many issues like education, health care, etc. will gradually lead to “citizen’s treatment.” Only then can we reach a common-prosperity harmonious society.