Mao’s Last Farmer

The Sydney Morning Herald tells the complicated story of peasant activist Yu Changwu, who became well-known to the international media after a manifesto demanding land rights signed in his name circulated online: Yu married a...

Pressure Builds for Chinese Farm Privatization

Business Week reports on the adverse effects of a state-owned land policy and the peasants’ move to reclaim land they say is being lost to corrupt local officials. In recent months peasants in at least four far-flung...

Lives Of Poverty, Untouched By China’s Boom – Howard W. French

From New York Times: When she gets sick, Li Enlan, 78, picks herbs from the woods that grow nearby instead of buying modern medicines. That is not a result of some philosophical choice, though. She has never seen a doctor and, like many residents of this area, lives in a meager barter economy, seldom coming […]

Peasants Take Law Into Their Own Hands – John Garnaut

From The Sydney Morning Herald: The road to China’s suburban dream is potted with the usual grievances. The bus to town is too crowded, the toll road too expensive, developers too dishonest. But the young families who were driven by Beijing’s sizzling property prices to buy at Grand Jade Garden, on the city’s eastern fringe […]

Video Series : White Horse Village – Carrie Gracie

“If they force us out of our homes, we’ll beat them up. Like peasant rebels in history, there’s nothing else we can do. With sticks and bars, we’ll lock them in the house and beat them to death. Then...

China, Beware – Economist

The Economist marks the upcoming 17th Party Congress by focusing on problems faced by China’s rural underclass and workers: BASKING in its 2008 Olympic glow, no longer shy at counting itself among the world’s greats and blessed with a still booming economy, China looks the coming power. And so it is, up to a point. […]

“Peasant is Not a Derogative Word” – Jeff Pan

From China Daily: “Peasant, the hardworking and simple, should not be considered a derogative word,” said Yuan Chunqing, Governor of Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, on a nationally televised talk show. The noun “peasant” has been using as adjective as part of a posh Chinese vocabulary for many, describing those who are unstylish and ill-informed… Yuan, […]

Property Reform Ignores Chinese Farmers – Richard McGregor

From Financial Times: For the farmers of Guanyun country, in Jiangsu province north of Shanghai, the pioneering property law that began its passage through China’s top lawmaking body this week holds little promise of salvation. Lu Zenghua, one of the farmers who claims his land was appropriated with no proper approval and little compensation for […]

Farmers: China’s Most Honest Citizens – Laowiseass

From Laowiseass Blog: “You come here when you want the truth. You won’t get it from them,” a farmer in Hebei province once told me during a news interview to learn what China’s estimated 800 million people with rural residence permits thought of some recent government action. The farmer — a loose term that covers […]

As China Booms, Millions of Children Are Left Behind – WSJ

Wall Street Journal’s page one story on liushou ertong (ÁïôÂÆàÂÑøÁ´•) (photo: left-behind children via BBC News): In a sparsely furnished farmhouse, about a half mile from a main road in the poor, rural province of Anhui, 16-year-old Zhao Yan has lived on her own for more than two years. She goes to school, tends to […]

Some of China’s Stories Untold At Exhibit on Human Rights – Maureen Fan

From Washington Post: There were two Chinas on display at the Beijing Folk Culture PlazaÔºàÂåó‰∫¨ÂÜú‰∏ö±ïËßàȶÜÔºâ on Friday, as an exhibition on human rights began a 10-day run. The exhibit, the first of its kind in China, extolled the virtues of China’s constitution and “grass-roots democracy.” (ËçâʆπÊ∞ë‰∏ªÔºâIt featured color propaganda photos, heavy-handed security and a nervous […]

Government to curb illegal land grabs – Jiang Zhuqing

From China Daily: China has established a new system to keep track of land use in a bid to curb runaway investment and protect the interests of farmers. The State Council, China’s cabinet, has authorized the Ministry of Land and Resources /ÂõΩÂúü˵ÑÊ∫êÈÉ®(MLR) to supervise and overhaul land use and management by local governments, Vice-Premier Zeng […]

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 […]

Painting the Peasants Into the Portrait of China’s Economic Boom – Joseph Kahn

From the New York Times: Like many Chinese intellectuals during the recent economic boom, Chen Guidi and Wu Chuntao, a husband-and-wife team of writers, mostly ignored their ancestral homes in the countryside. No one, they described themselves as thinking, wants to read about peasants in the era of skyscrapers and designer bags. Happily for themselves […]



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