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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Book exposes the misery of China's forgotten peasants - World - www.smh.com.au

Book exposes the misery of China's forgotten peasants - World - www.smh.com.au

Main Street Lop XinjiangIn my studies of the Uygur people I am often amazed at the juxtaposition of urban Han prosperity and rural poverty evident in Xinjiang.

When one looks at the modern glass and steel city of Urumqi (home to a majority Han Population) and the unpaved and poorly serviced rural towns like Lop one can not help feeling that in Xinjiang the money goes where the money comes and where the money comes the Han go.

Urumqi Capital of XinjiangThis article about a new book by Chen Guidi and Wu Chuntao, a husband and wife team who spent three years researching their 460-page Report on the Condition of China's Peasants, say China is becoming "one country with two systems" is truly timely and it is far overdue in highlighting what is becoming an increasing chasm not only for Uygur rural peoples but obviously for the rural peoples of China generally.

Palliative measures get introduced when the poverty cycle becomes a crisis, but no fundamental reforms are introduced to change the social and political system that exploits the peasants

-Report on the Condition of China's Peasants-

It is all very well for the PRC to be riding the crest of an export boom and raking in the hard currency if it does not, to a degree at least, share the benefits of this new found wealth with all peoples of China, especially the ethnic rural minorities.

Xinjiang has always been a hard place. It is an area of mountains and deserts interspersed with oases a region where the Uygur have eked out an existence for nigh on two thousand years.

There are numerous problems of desertification rising salinity levels and infrastructure all which will only further impact on rural poverty.

It is hoped that this book may draw some world attention to what feasibly is a potential source of internal strife and in a land of 1.2 billion this is to be avoided at all costs.