China’s Stick People – the rural urban divide

December 25, 2012

I’m always looking for information about China, and I learned something new from The Economist’s May 6, 2010 issue. Click the link to read the entire piece or read this summary. I bought the magazine.

China has two classes—rural and urban.  The urban people have prospered for the last thirty years as China built a middle class.  Most rural Chinese have not been able to benefit from the booming economy and are getting restless.

Rural land outside China’s cities usually belongs to collectives. When Mao won China, the Communists divided the land among villages—not individuals. Individuals do not hold title to farmland and cannot sell land that no one owns.

China saw what was happening in India when farmers sold their plots to developers.  Rural people in India flocked to the cities and built sprawling slums. To avoid that, the Chinese government created a system to keep rural people on their farms.  Another motivation was fear of another famine like the one that struck China from 1959 to 1961 killing millions from starvation. If farmers left the fields for a better lifestyle in cities, that nightmare might return.

An experiment was tried in rural areas outside Chongqing to see if the land can be divided among individuals while increasing food production. Since the government still hasn’t figured out how to make the transition smoothly, don’t expect rural land reforms to happen quickly.

Read about China’s middle class expanding

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Global Censorship and Corruption

September 21, 2010

Gordon Ross at Global Geopolitics & Political Economy reports that in spite of “overwhelming obstacles” in China, a few courageous reporters are exposing official corruption and criminal behavior and it is dangerous.

Why doesn’t Ross’s piece mention that there are crime fighters in China like Bo Xilai, who may be China’s number one crime fighter?

Bo’s much-publicized crackdown on gangsters in Chongqing resulted in the arrest and conviction of thousands of gangsters, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Source: The Diplomat.com

How about crime and corruption in America?  UCLA Professor of Public Affairs Mark Kleiman is “angry about having too much crime and an intolerable number of people behind bars.”

The United States is home to five percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, yet, says Kleiman, our high incarceration rate isn’t making us safer. Source: Reason.com

Threats and fear or reprisals and lawsuits in the U.S. have put witnesses, police, reporters and whistle blowers in danger.

For example, Serpico, the true story of an honest New York cop who blew the whistle on rampant corruption in the force only to have his comrades turn on him.

Being a witness in the United States can also be dangerous, which is why the U.S. Government has the United States Federal Witness Protection Program.

Due to many of the same problems China faces today, America also has the U.S. Department of Labor Whistleblower Protection Program.

Then Serendipity says that censorship exists to some extent in all modern countries, including the U.S.A., the U.K., Germany, France, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

Crime and corruption is a global problem and is not exclusive to China.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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Anger, Oppression, and Courage

May 12, 2010

In the West, it is common to air public or private corruption so the world sees. In China, it is best not to talk about embarrassing problems publicly. Unfortunately, this practice allows individuals in public office to spend lavishly.

When China considers reforms that go against cultural habits, the government moves cautiously and studies the results. Why experiment with change at all?  Because the people show courage and demand changes and this noise cannot be ignored for long.

In Chongqing, an experiment in rural land reform is taking place designed to lift economic oppression from the backs of the rural poor so they benefit from the growing economy. This is the only province where rural land reforms are being tested on a provincial scale. If this works, these reforms may spread to other provinces calming rural anger.

Baimiao, a Sichuan township, is experimenting with financial transparency that has been termed “Naked Government.” So far, results look promising.  For China to combat political corruption, financial transparency is necessary.

In another test, a Cultural Revolution museum in Shantou (Guangdong district) is a message that history is a warning not to make the same mistakes twice. The museum gets about 1,000 visitors a day.

The size of each experiment may signal the importance of each. One covers a province. Two are only in towns. The first experiment took place soon after Mao died. That test was an open market leading to China’s ever changing, booming economy. Maybe these latest tests, if successful, will lead to similar results.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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China’s Stick People

May 11, 2010

I’m always looking for information about China, and I hit gold with the May 8 The Economist. Click the link to read the entire piece or read this summary. I bought the magazine.

China has two classes—rural and urban.  The urban people have prospered for the last thirty years as China built a middle class.  Most rural Chinese have not been able to benefit from the booming economy and are getting restless.

Rural China

Rural land outside China’s cities belongs to collectives. When Mao won China, the Communists divided the land among villages—not individuals. Individuals do not hold title to farmland and cannot sell land that no one owns.

China saw what was happening in India when farmers sold their plots to developers.  Rural people in India flocked to the cities and built sprawling slums. To avoid that, the Chinese government created a system to keep rural people on their farms.  Another motivation was fear of another famine like the one that struck China from 1959 to 1961 killing millions from starvation. If farmers left the fields for a better lifestyle in cities, that nightmare might return.

Currently, an experiment is being tried in rural areas outside Chongqing to see if the land can be divided among individuals while increasing food production. Since the government still hasn’t figured out how to make the transition smoothly, don’t expect rural land reforms to happen quickly.

Discover China’s middle class expanding

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China


2012 – Changing the Guard

March 8, 2010

The fifth generation of Communist leadership in China will take charge in 2012, as the fourth generation steps down.  Retirement from public office is mandatory at 67.

Who are these people? There are two factions (recognized by the Western media) competing for leadership of the country.

One faction is the Gang of Princelings whose parents were powerful members of the Communist Party. The other faction comes from those that climbed the ranks from China’s Youth League. This year’s session of the National People’s Congress marks the unofficial start of the campaign season for 2012 when most of the current leadership will retire.

One rival is Wang Yang, once a member of the Communist Youth League. Wang has talked about having new, capital-intensive industries replace the old, labor-intensive industries in Guangdong.

One princiling has been in the spotlight recently. He has achieved celebrity status in China because he was successful fighting organized crime in Chongqing, a city with a population that is more than thirty million.  His name is Bo Xilai, one of the princelings, and his father was one of China’s eight Communist Immortals.

Bo Xilai

In China, family history is important and always has been. The Chinese look at the history of the family, the father, the mother and believe that will show them who the child will be and if that man or woman can be trusted.

See Family Connections

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


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