» 04/01/2011, 00.00
As the poverty line is raised, the number of poor jumps threefold
As part of its plan to fight rural poverty, Beijing is forced to raise the poverty line, from 1,169 to 1,500 yuan (US$ 175 to 230) per year. Scholars and politicians oppose the decision, calling it “too soft”. They want a heftier increase.
"Barefoot" doctors are the only medics in rural villages
In the sixties, the basics of medical care were taught to many farmers in a bid to create medical awareness throughout the country. To date, they are the only "doctors" in rural areas, albeit unrecognized by the authorities.
Life in China's countryside worse than under Mao
Research by a Chinese historian sheds light on the situation in China's rural areas, still under heavy-handed Communist rule. The Great Leap Forward might be past history, but peasants still live with its legacy at the bottom of the social heap. Data confirm that rural populations have lower wages and lack adequate health care or education as their land is seized and given over to capitalists.
Urban development creates new sub-proletariat
New projects are often planned without criteria or controls. They have enriched local governments but impoverished farmers, who are forced to migrate to cities. Tens of millions of families have been deprived of their land as well as social and economic stability.
National People's Congress closes
Only in China is the suicide rate higher in women
Every year some 287,000 people commit suicide, 58 per cent women, especially in rural areas. Depression and isolation are main causes. Till recently government did little.
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