In Ten Years, Who Will Farm the Land? – He Bing

Danwei translates an article from the Beijing News, which looks at the demographics of agricultural work in China, when most of the young people have gone to the cities to find work:

I met a number of village cadres, all of whom were in the grandpa/grandma range, most of them over fifty and some even on the other side of sixty. They said that the young people had all left, and the ones who hadn’t left were unwilling to be village officials. “It’s only 1000 yuan a year. Where’s the motivation in that?” And according to them, the village schools were empty: “The good teachers have all gone, and they students left with them.”

Going through the data after I returned, I discovered that among the the population of working farmers is a nationwide phenomenon. In the better situations, the average age is above forty; in the worse, it’s above fifty”there are only white-haired people living beside the mountains and streams. In the villages of the past, though they were poor there was always the sound of chickens and dogs, of people laughing and horses snorting: a “lively countryside.” But today, such situations are rare, such sights have long since disappeared. [Full text]

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