Posts tagged ‘Rural area’


India Police Probe Trade in Human Organs – India Real Time – WSJ

Police in India’s capital Delhi have uncovered a complex network illegally trading in kidneys. Suryatapa Bhattacharya report.

Earlier this month, a woman marched into a police station in India’s capital to file a domestic-abuse complaint and then made another allegation: that her husband was involved in illegal organ-trafficking.

Police said that accusation sparked a probe that had yielded 12 arrests as of Tuesday after authorities said they uncovered a complex nationwide network that was illegally trading in kidneys.

Donors, mostly poor residents of rural areas, were paid about $6,000 to give their kidneys to wealthier people in need of transplants, police said. The recipients paid more than $37,000. Traffickers produced counterfeit documents to make it appear as though the donors and recipients were related, police said. A 1994 law outlawed organ sales but permitted donations between family members.

The suspects—including five middlemen and four people who allegedly sold their own kidneys—were held on suspicion of trafficking in human organs and forgery, police said. They were in custody and couldn’t be reached for comment. It was unclear if they had legal representation.

Most countries prohibit organ selling, in part because of fears the poor and sick will be exploited by unscrupulous brokers.

Source: India Police Probe Trade in Human Organs – India Real Time – WSJ


A look back at the 25 goals of 2015|Government|

Amazing achievement.  How many countries declare goals in such clear numerical form and then exceed 23, meet 1, and fail on only 1 out of 25!

A look back at the 25 goals of 2015

1 Revitalize more than 212.4 billion yuan in central finance fund stock. Fulfillment: 237 billion yuan revitalized.

2 Investment within central budget increased to 477.6 billion yuan. Fulfillment: Investment of 521.1 billion yuan.

3 Railway investment to exceed 800 billion yuan. Fulfillment: Investment of 823.8 billion yuan was completed.

4 Utilize more than 8,000 km of newly built rail. Fulfillment: Newly built rail of 9,531 km was put into use.

5 Start construction of 27 major hydro projects. Fulfillment: Construction of 28 initiated.

6 Cancel all non-administrative approvals. Fulfillment: 453 items were cancelled or adjusted.

7 Cut items limiting foreign investment by half. Fulfillment: 41 of 79 items were deleted.

8 Keep grain yields above 550 million tons and increase deep-plough land by 13.33 million hectares. Fulfillment: Grain yields reached 621 million tons, Deep-plough land increased by 13.648 million hectares.

9 Construct or reconstruct 200,000 km of highways in rural areas. Fulfillment: Rural areas saw 251,000 km of newly constructed or reconstructed highways.

10 Build bridges to replace sliding-chairs to cross remote mountainous areas in the West. Fulfillment: All 288 projects have started construction.

11 Ensure that the more than 200,000 people in the country with no access to electricity get access. Fulfillment: 238,000 got access to electricity.

12 Provide safe drinking water to 60 million rural people. Fulfillment: 64.336 million rural people got access.

13 Eliminate all the 1.162 million heavy-emission vehicles with yellow stickers put into operation before the end of 2005. Fulfillment: 1.26 million such vehicles were eliminated.

14 Reduce energy use and carbon dioxide emissions by 3.1 percent or more. Fulfillment: Energy use was reduced by 5.6 percent, while carbon dioxide emissions were cut by 6.6 percent.

15 Cut chemical oxygen demand emissions by 2 percent, ammonia emissions by 2 percent, sulfur dioxide emissions by 3 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 5 percent. Fulfillment: Chemical oxygen demand emissions were cut by 3.1 percent, ammonia emissions by 3.6 percent, sulfur dioxide emissions by 5.8 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 10.9 percent.

16 Return 667,000 hectares of farmland to forest and grassland. Fulfillment: 667,000 hectares of farmland were returned.

17 Plant 6 million hectares of forests. Fulfillment: 6.3245 million hectares were planted.

18 Build 7.4 million units in government-subsidized housing projects, renovate 5.8 million units in shanty-towns and 4.32 million dilapidated houses in rural areas. Fulfillment: 7.83 million units in government-subsidized housing projects were built, 6.01 million units were renovated in shanty-towns and 4.68 million dilapidated houses in rural areas.

19 Create more than 10 million jobs in urban areas. Fulfillment: 13.12 million jobs were created in urban areas.

20 Raise standard of financial assistance for basic medical insurance of urban residents to 380 yuan per person per year. Fulfillment: Average standard has been raised to 446 yuan.

21 Raise standard of financial assistance for the new rural cooperative medical system to 380 yuan per person per year. Raise standard of financial assistance for per capita funding for basic public health services to 40 yuan. Carry out pilot projects for public hospital reform in 100 cities at and above prefecture level. Fulfillment: Standard of financial assistance for the new rural cooperative medical system was raised to 390. 24 yuan per person per year. Standard of financial assistance for per capita funding for basic public health services reached 42 yuan. Pilot projects for public hospital reform were carried out in 100 cities at and above prefecture level.

22 The registered urban unemployment rate should not exceed 4.5 percent. Fulfillment: Registered urban unemployment rate was 4.05 percent

23 Cut the rural poor population by at least 10 million. Fulfilled.

24 Employment opportunities for 7.49 million college graduates. Fulfillment: The employment situation was the same as the previous year.

25 Increase imports and exports by 6 percent. Failed to meet the goal: Import and export volumes in 2015 were $3.95864 trillion, down 8 percent. Exports decreased by 2.9 percent, still making China the best performer in major economies. China is still the world’s biggest trading power and export power.

Source: A look back at the 25 goals of 2015|Government|


13 Million Guangdong Migrants Could Gain Permanent Residence By 2020 – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Faced with a persistent influx of rural workers, China’s most populous province plans to allow more migrant residents to settle permanently in its cities, in its latest effort to ease decades-old curbs on rural-urban migration.

Under new guidelines published this week, Guangdong authorities aim to grant local household registration to roughly 13 million migrant workers by 2020, allowing them to access public services—spanning housing, health-care, social security and education—that are typically reserved for urban residents.

Guangdong has often taken the lead in efforts to liberalize the hukou system, a national household-registration regime that curbs rural-urban migration by tying benefits like health care and pensions to a person’s place of birth. Experts say the system forces many rural migrants to live as second-class citizens in urban areas, aggravating social inequality while fueling tensions between locals and outsiders.

Hukou reforms are a pressing matter for Guangdong, a southern Chinese manufacturing hub that hosts the country’s largest transient population. Among its roughly 110 million residents, more than 24 million are migrants from other regions, while another 10.6 million have relocated within the province.

“Reforming the household-registration system will speed up our province’s urbanization process, and facilitate the coordinated development of the Pearl River Delta region,” Peng Hui, deputy director-general of Guangdong’s public security department, told a news briefing this week.

As part of the reforms, provincial officials will aim to “equalize” the provision of public services and ensure “balanced” economic development between rural and urban areas, according to the new guidelines.

China has used the hukou system since the 1950s to keep people from moving to the cities and forming the sort of slums that plague other developing nations. In recent decades, however, rural migrants have increasingly bucked the system to seek better opportunities in urban areas, without approval to live there.

Beijing, for its part, has since changed tack and pushed to urbanize its population of nearly 1.4 billion people, of which about 45% still in live in rural areas. But experts say the government must speed up its dismantling of the hukou system, warning that social tensions could fester and even boil over in the coming decade as China’s “floating population” of more than 250 million continues to expand.

Last year, Beijing pledged some changes to the hukou system, with restrictions to be lifted first in small towns. More stringent requirements will remain on those who want to live in larger cities, which are generally more attractive to migrants.


Guangdong’s plan follows a similar approach. Provincial officials say they plan to “fully liberalize” settlement rules in small, county-level cities and so-called “administratively designated towns,” where migrants with legal and stable places of residence will be allowed to apply for permanent residency.

via 13 Million Guangdong Migrants Could Gain Permanent Residence By 2020 – China Real Time Report – WSJ.


China’s Left-Behind Children are Lonely, Underperforming, and Sad – Businessweek

China has an estimated 61 million “left-behind children”—youths in the countryside who grow up separated from migrant worker parents. A survey has just detailed the problems facing an alienated generation whose members are usually raised by relatives, educated in rural boarding schools, or even forced by circumstance to live alone.

China's Left-Behind Children Are Lonely, Underperforming, and Sad

Without proper attention, many regularly suffer injuries, says a report released on Nov. 30 by the China Youth & Children Research Center. Almost half of the group’s members (known in Chinese as liushou ertong) has been injured in accidents involving cuts, burns, animal bites, traffic accidents, and electric shocks. That was 5.3 percent higher than the rate of injury experienced by other children, the study said.

With most attending underfunded, overcrowded rural schools—or even dropping out—the academic problems facing left-behind children are particularly severe. More than four-fifths reported problems with declining scholastic performance, and 43.8 percent were not interested in studying.

Just under 70 percent of left-behind children reported being unable to understand their class lessons. About one-half had problems finishing homework, 40 percent were late for classes, and 5.5 percent were often absent—all higher rates than those experienced by children raised by their parents.

Without access to adequate social support, many reported experiencing negative feelings. Almost one-half were irritable, while around 40 percent said they were unhappy. One-fifth said they had problems losing their temper without good reason.

Left-behind girls were even more vulnerable than boys, repording higher rates of problems in each of these areas, as well as a lower sense of self-worth than their male counterparts. As for loneliness—a problem experienced by all the left-behind children— girls again suffered more: Some 42.9 percent of left-behind girls said they often feel lonely. That’s 6.2 percent higher than their male counterparts reported, and it’s 6.7 percent higher than girls who live with their parents.

via China’s Left-Behind Children are Lonely, Underperforming, and Sad – Businessweek.


Fossil-hunting: Bone China | The Economist

A GIANT, pinkish femur juts out of the ground, longer than a person is tall. The area is littered with the fossilised vertebrae, leg and arm bones and skull of this Hadrosaurus. For 70m years it and other dinosaurs have lain buried here. Now the site in Zhucheng, in Shandong province in eastern China, is known as “dinosaur valley” for its more than 10,000 fossils found to date. The hunt for dinosaurs only properly began in China in recent decades. Already more species have been identified there than in any other country.

The bonanza is explained by China’s great expanses of rock from the Mesozoic era, when “fearful dragons”, as they are called in Chinese, roamed. In many areas rivers, floods, sandstorms and earthquakes buried the animals soon after they died, so preserving them. An unusually large amount of the rock from this era is now close to the surface, so the troves of bones, eggs and footprints have been uncovered comparatively easily. A recent discovery in Liaoning province, the Changyuraptor yangi, is the largest known four-winged flying reptile and marks another vital step on the evolutionary path from dinosaurs to birds.

A rise in science funding also lies behind China’s dinosaur bounty: rather like the Chinese economy, Chinese palaeontology is in its rapidly emerging stage, says Xu Xing of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who himself has found more than 40 new species. Fossils are frequently uncovered at the country’s many construction sites, along the routes of new railways, for example.

Selling fossils is illegal in China. But many farmers now make far more money flogging fossils (including fake ones) on the black market than they do from their crops. Attempts to build a tourist industry around dinosaurs have been less lucrative. Farmers will have to be better compensated for their fossil discoveries if scientists are to win the battle of the bones.

via Fossil-hunting: Bone China | The Economist.


The Change in China’s Hukou Policy Is Slow to Help Migrant Families – Businessweek

On July 30, China’s State Council announced plans to abolish the old residence registration permit—or hukou—that distinguished rural from urban households. The move was long overdue.

Young Chinese children attend a kindergarten set up for migrant workers in Beijing

The hukou system was enacted in 1958 as away to limit movement between the countryside and cities. At that time, the Chinese Communist Party was explicitly anti-urban and antibusiness. After economic reform began in 1978, the hukou became increasingly anachronistic as millions of migrant workers left farms and villages for new jobs in factories and private companies in the cities. Yet they were penalized because, without local household registration papers, these migrants were denied access to public health care, education, and other social services.

The new system, however, will be only a partial fix. Discrepancies between rural and urban tax collection will gradually be phased out, but access to services will still be linked to location. While smaller cities may be willing to accept newly registered residents, the governments of China’s leading metropolises—including Beijing and Shanghai—are overburdened and still actively trying to discourage new residents (other than wealthy arrivals) from putting down roots.

via The Change in China’s Hukou Policy Is Slow to Help Migrant Families – Businessweek.


Agriculture: Bring back the landlords | The Economist

CHINA’S Communist Party has always had a problem with big landowners. In Communist culture, they are synonymous with evil. In January on the country’s most-watched television show—a gala at lunar new year—viewers were treated to a scene from a Mao-era ballet featuring young peasants fired with zeal for revenge against a despotic rural landlord. Some critics rolled their eyes about such a throwback to the party’s radical past, but few complained about the stereotyping of landowners. Yet when it comes to letting individual families control large tracts of farmland, Communist Party leaders are beginning to have a change of heart.

Since January last year the term “family farm” has come into vogue in the party’s vocabulary. It refers not to the myriad tiny plots, each farmed by a single family, that are characteristic of the Chinese countryside; but to much larger-scale operations of a kind more familiar elsewhere, such as Europe or America. The trigger for this was the term’s use in a Communist Party directive known as “document number one”, the name traditionally given to the party’s new-year policy pronouncement on rural issues. It said the consolidation of household plots into family farms should be given “encouragement and support”.

On his first trip outside the capital after being appointed prime minister in March last year, Li Keqiang visited a 450-hectare (1,110-acre) family farm in the coastal province of Jiangsu. He said that boosting production was impossible on the tiny plots that most rural households farm (the average is less than half a hectare). “It can only be done through concentrating the land into larger farms”, Mr Li said. With more government support, “the earth could yield gold”, he told residents; a notion that would surprise the 260m people who have left the countryside to work in cities over the last three decades. Many villages are now home mainly to the elderly and left-behind children. During a visit to Switzerland two months later Mr Li again stopped by at a family farm (of a more modest 40 hectares). Chinese media said he wanted to pick up tips from Europe’s “advanced experiences” in running them. Chen Xiwen, a senior party policymaker on rural affairs, was even quoted as saying last year that he would like China to have vast “family farms like America’s”, but that he was worried about the impact on rural employment if farmland were to be managed by so few hands.

As is often the case whenever party policy appears to shift in the countryside, reality on the ground had long been changing before official rhetoric began to catch up. (Peasants started dismantling Mao’s disastrous “people’s communes” before the party began formally doing so in 1982.) The exodus from the countryside has allowed entrepreneurial farmers to build up their holdings by renting land from neighbours who no longer need it. They have not been able to buy it since all rural land is owned “collectively” by villagers. But they have been allowed to take over the right to farm it, and keep any profits. The party does not harp on about evil landlords of yore, since the new big-farmers are, legally speaking, merely tenants. In March last year the agriculture ministry took its first survey of family farms, though it has yet even to define the term precisely. It found there were already 877,000 of them, with an average size of around 13 hectares. They covered 13% of China’s arable land. Since 2008 the area of farmland rented out to other farmers has more than tripled.

via Agriculture: Bring back the landlords | The Economist.

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Beijing’s Struggle to Keep People in Their Place – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s Communist Party has a message for the country’s put-upon rural residents: Don’t come to us, we’ll come to you.

Earlier this week, Beijing announced new regulations banning citizens from petitioning outside their home provinces – essentially an effort to keep the country’s poor and disgruntled from bringing their grievances to the capital.

At the same time, the Party is insisting that more of its members meet people where they live, employing “pocket cadres” whose mission is to, as the People’s Daily put it, “go the last mile, [and] have a more direct relationship with the masses.”

Chinese leaders have tried to keep aggrieved rural residents in their place before, with little success. The effort to reach out to them through this new campaign appears to be an acknowledgement of past failures. But it also betrays a nostalgia for political ideas that seem out of step with some of the major realities of the moment.

The purpose of the “pocket cadre” campaign — which has been taking place primarily in China’s countryside — is two-fold:  to listen more to the complaints of residents in various regions “by going face-to-face, through home visits to hear their voices”; and to educate the masses about what the Party is already accomplishing on their behalf.

That way, Beijing believes, Party representative will be then “better able to do practical things for the people, problem-solving things.”

The “pocket” part of the strategy, according to Xinhua, refers to satchels that cadres carry on these missions to “collect suggestions from villagers” and to cart in needed items such as salt and medicine to outlying areas that residents have requested.

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These officials also often carry a “pocket-sized book”– which is “small in size, convenient to take along, and which can be used to commit to memory and allow Party members to convey current policies in a format that the masses can grasp easily.”

By making these treks into villages, the Party displays an interest in the daily lives of rural inhabitants, and pushes officials to play a role in resolving local disputes — while also pinpointing potential sources of discontent before they emerge.

The upside of this initiative is not inconsiderable. Rural residents appear to appreciate the concern shown by cadres, and have come to rely on both their visits and the appearance of “demand boxes“ that enable citizens to identify specific complaints but have them acted on locally.

Party representatives also have to be pleased that people who might otherwise petition higher levels for redress have a new avenue for seeking out officials to help solve their problems.

Finally, there’s the chance that this experiment, which is largely targeted on the Chinese countryside, could be employed elsewhere in the country, and provide a precursor for greater political dialogue in the society.

via Beijing’s Struggle to Keep People in Their Place – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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* China spends billions on rural education – Xinhua |

The Chinese central government has invested 61.8 billion yuan (10.1 bln U.S. dollars) improving schoolhouses and educational facilities in rural areas over the past four years.

Since 2010, 39.9 billion yuan from the central budget has been used in schoolhouse renovation and 21.9 billion yuan in educational equipment, said Liu Limin, deputy minister of education, at a press conference on Thursday.

Money was also used to build cafeterias at schools in 699 “poor” counties, after media reports exposed that some students in remote villages have to cook for themselves during study time, according to Liu.

The deputy minister revealed that the ministries of education and finance and the National Development and Reform Commission jointly worked out a plan on improving the level of education in poor areas at the end of last year.

The plan aims at completing six major tasks in three to five years, including improving basic school facilities like teaching equipment, sports grounds and toilets, promoting digital teaching methods and improving the quality of teaching staff, according to Liu.

He also said that the ministry will try to ensure better compulsory education and care for 23 million rural left-behind children at school age, who stayed alone or with their relatives while their parents go to cities to make a living.

via China spends billions on rural education – Xinhua |

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