Tales from China’s farming frontline – Richard McGregor

From Financial Times:

China’s national audit office announced a new code of conduct after a macabre incident last week, when one of its auditors died of “excessive drinking and eating” at banquets hosted by the local electricity bureau whose books he was screening. His fellow auditors did not rush home in grief after their colleague’s death. Reportedly too upset to continue work after the bureau’s grande bouffe, they went on an all-expenses-paid trip elsewhere in China the next day to relax.

At first glance, this tragicomic scandal has little to do with China’s long-suffering farmers, even if it does have echoes in one tale of a newly translated book on the local peasantry by two Chinese researchers-cum-investigative reporters, Chen Guidi and Wu Chuntao. In their account, a peasant demands an investigation into free-loading officials who are bankrupting the village with their banquets. Weeks later, he returns to demand the investigation be called off because the auditor had joined in the festivities. [Full text]

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