Sunday, January 24, 2021

China exodus to cities leaves abandoned elderly at the mercy of shady officials

Whole villages are seized and razed, with elderly farmers unable to protect their homes.

Other News

Pasar Borong Pandan di JB ditutup seminggu kerana Covid-19

Pasar terbabit akan beroperasi semula selepas kerja-kerja sanitasi selesai dilakukan mengikut tarikh ditetapkan.

Berbalah jawatan PM ketika negara berdepan Covid-19 kerja mengarut, kata Hadi

Perbalahan itu hanya mengganggu usaha membantu rakyat yang terkesan oleh penularan pandemik tersebut, justeru harus dihentikan.

4,427 dilaporkan pulih, jumlah tertinggi setakat ini

3,346 kes baru Covid-19, 11 lagi kematian direkodkan.

Recoveries hit new high but 11 more deaths take toll to 678

3,346 new cases, 265 in ICU and 102 in need of respiratory assistance.

Tamil Nadu benarkan cuti Thaipusam selepas ditekan BJP berhaluan kanan

Parti pemerintah BJP mensasarkan untuk menawan Tamil Nadu dengan membangkitkan isu agama yang dekat dengan hati penganut Hindu.

In China over the past 30 years, tens of millions of young country folk have migrated to the country’s megacities to work.

They leave behind their elderly parents and grandparents to care for their children. As the exodus gathers pace, empty houses decay, schools close, and local shops go out of business.

In a bid to find a solution, many provinces have been emptying and demolishing underpopulated villages and building new towns to house displaced residents in a scheme known as “village consolidation”, the Economist reports.

The bonus for the authorities is that the freed-up land can then be turned into arable cropland. This is desperately needed in China, which has 20% of the world’s population but less than 10% of its arable land.

By creating alternative arable land, local governments can sell greenfield sites near cities to developers without reducing their province’s stock of farmland, which is strictly limited by central government. Profits are substantial and often difficult to trace.

The farmers are powerless to protect their villages from rapacious officials. If they refuse to leave, the local bureaucrats arrive with their enforcers. Reports of beatings are common, and even petrol bombs have been thrown into homes.

Last year Shandong province launched a “village consolidation” programme, leading to mass protests by villagers and outrage in the state-controlled press. China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has long insisted that the “rural revival” must not involve “mass demolition and mass building”, but corrupt local officials know the planning processes will be murky and profits will be huge.

In China, if an official decides a villager must move, he has no choice.

Another problem for farmers is that the Communist Party calls rural villages “collectively owned”. Shady officials interpret that as meaning they can seize whole villages when they like and kick the elderly inhabitants out, whether they have a completed “consolidated village” to go to or not.

Many are calling for villagers to be given clear rights to their homes and then be allowed to sell them freely, as city dwellers have been allowed to do since the 1990s.

Local governments could then buy them legally if they wish, at a price fairly negotiated with the owners.

The law should protect the weak from powerful men with big bulldozers, not vice versa.


Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

Chinese gold miners to stay trapped at least 2 more weeks

An explosion caused a massive collapse while the mine was under construction.

China overtakes Germany with world’s largest current account surplus

The change underlines a massive shift in world trade triggered by the coronavirus crisis.

Prada drops Chinese actress over alleged illegal surrogacy row

The international luxury fashion brand had only recently unveiled Zheng Shuang as its face of China.

Wuhan bustles a year after world’s first Covid lockdown

The city has bounced back and is eager to move on from being known as ground zero of the deadly virus.

China imposes sanctions on Pompeo, 27 other Trump-era officials

Beijing says they and their families will be banned from entering China and that companies associated with them will be restricted from doing business with China.