50 Million “Landless Farmers"
With China’s urbanization and industrialization,
vast amount of rural land has been expropriated.
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ report shows
that now China has 40-50 million “landless farmers,"
and every year about 3 million farmers loose land.
It is estimated that by 2030 they will reach 110 million.
In the urbanization process, authorities do not have job
alternative for farmers, causing serious social problems.
Tianli assists landless farmers to safeguard their rights.
He helped over 200,000 people
in Fujian and Guangdong Provinces alone.
He said that 50 million is “underestimated."
And now the Chinese government has become
a land-selling government.
Tianli (political commentator): “Recently, farmers,
who lost their land, in Hefei and Anhui, came to me.
I read their materials; it was just so miserable.
I think Chinese farmers are the most miserable group.
They are abandoned by both the state and the society.
I have a heavy heart right now, and I think
that 50 million is definitely an “underestimate."
NTD senior commentator Wen Zhao said
that under China’s current system,
when the government wants to engage in land
development, such as building a highway,
a hydropower station, or an industrial park,
they would expropriate farmers’ lands.
Wen Zhao said, for some cities, revenue from land sales
accounts for more than 40% of government’s revenue.
He said that after completion of existing development,
the authorities will look for a new growth area.
Thus farmers become an incessant object of plunder.
Another issue is that the Chinese communist regime
is too much after the GDP growth.
Wen Zhao: “For GDP growth, local governments mainly
rely on land economy, and they mainly sell land.
The more economically advanced a province is,
the higher the cost of its land.
So they rely more and more
on land sale for fiscal revenue."
According to China’s Ministry of Land, 266,700 hectares
of land has been assigned for urban planning.
The land is either idle or instructed not to use.
The problem of a large-scale poorly used land is serious.
The farmers without land have nothing to rely on.
Most of them count on land acquisition compensation.
This leads to serious social problems. Statistics show that
about 30% of petitioners are farmers, who lost their lands.
Wen Zhao pointed out that the issue of China’s expropriation
depends on “whether the compensation is appropriate."
Wen Zhao: Farmers have no social security,
unemployment benefits, pensions or health insurance.
Land is usually the only source of their income.
So when they lose their land, they lose all sources
of income and become homeless.
Their only way out is to seek jobs in the cities;
they have no other choice."
Wen Zhao believes that China’s other issue
is the lack of “employment opportunities."
He said if the compensation is sufficient,
this can solve emergency issues for most people’s lives.
If their hometowns can provide more employment
opportunities for farmers, social conflicts will decrease.
However, according to a sample survey conducted
by the Bureau of Statistics on landless farmers,
only 2.7% of farmers, whose land was acquired,
have employment arranged for them;
24.8% migrated to work out of town; 27.3% started
their own business in industries or service sectors;
25.2% worked on farm lands
and about 20% were idle at home.
In addition, all levels of Chinese governments have
serious problems in dealing with farmers’ compensation,
due to corruption, embezzlement and delayed payment.
Without unemployment insurance and no pension plan,
farmers now lose their land, the source of livelihood,
and yet they cannot get substituting compensation.
This is a major source of frequent social conflicts today.
NTD reporters Liang Xin, Li Ting and Zhou Ping.