Almost two years after 52 grape-growing families at Huangguaying Village of Heishi Township in Panshi City, Jilin Province (ÂêâÊûóÁúÅÁ£êÁü≥Â∏ÇÈªíÁü≥ÈïáÈªÑÁìúËê•Êùë), fell victim to a fake pesticide scam, their 50 combined acres of grape farms have become infertile and the leader of petitions to address the problem, a delegate to the city people’s congress, has been under a sort of house arrest, especially during the recent NPC/CPPCC conference time last month.
In May 2005, the grape farmers bought pesticides from Ji Kongliang (ÂêâÂ≠î‰∫Æ), a shady dealer who sells fake pesticides at below-market prices. After a few months, the farmers discovered the vine infection they intended to cure only got worse. Worse, the vines were rendered unreproductive and had to be replanted. Direct economic losses for the village amounted to more than a million yuan. Indirect losses ran as high as three million yuan, as the new vines aren’t expected to bear fruits for another two to three years.
Farmers started to complain and eventually got the attention of the city’s police, who found Ji Kongliang had indeed been peddling fake pesticides. But the local procuratorate, presumably bought off by the pesticide boss, refused to establish a case. As Ji began to buy back bags of its pesticide at a higher price to try to destroy evidence, the farmers were invited to appear at a hearing on the case–a true “hearing” the farmers call it because they were only allowed to listen, not to speak.
Last September, farmers learned from an official at the Jilin City Public Security Bureau that provincial officials were paying attention. Hope was reignited that the case would soon be established and justice restored. But when Dong Shanzhu (Ëë£ÂñÑÊü±), a farmer and leading petitioner on behalf of his fellow villagers, went with other the vintners to check in at the procurate, they were told again that the case wouldn’t be filed. Reason: Evidence not sufficient. This despite the fact that an earlier police report documented problems of the company’s pesticides and chemical tests confirmed the results.
Recently, Dong was given over into the “special care” of local police and government officials, who would call him daily to check he was not traveling to Beijing to petition, espeicially during the NPC/CPPCC conference period. [Full Text in Chinese]