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Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (2)

Posted by Author on May 30, 2010

By TOM LASSETER, McClatchy Newspapers, U.S, May. 30, 2010 –

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WRITING ON THE WALL- “Illegal petitioners will be severely punished”

About 45 miles up the road from the poverty of Deng Zhuang, banners advertise “elegant living” and “baroque flooring” in clusters of glimmering new buildings in the city of Zhumadian. The rolling wheat fields that ring the city are crossed by miles of elevated train tracks, part of China’s $100 billion-plus investment in a high-speed rail system that’s being pounded into shape.

Few in the West have heard of the surrounding province of Henan, but its population is expected to reach 100 million this year, roughly one-third that of the United States.

One large sign for a Zhumadian construction project reads in English: “Control the future Control the world.”

It’s a postcard from a nation hustling toward greatness.

Drive south toward Deng Zhuang, and the signs begin to change. Red and white banners painted on walls proclaim: “Implement the central government’s spirit. Fight against illegal petitions.”

In hamlets farther on, slogans streaked across the sides of buildings warn: “Illegal petitioners will be severely punished.”

The meaning is clear: Those who speak against the government are dealt with harshly.

As word spread this past year about failed rice crops in the region around Zhumadian, most locals remained silent. Thousands of acres of dry rice fields – those planted with seeds that don’t need as much water as traditional paddies – yielded little or no harvest, according to a March publication overseen by a federal government agricultural inspection agency.

The seed came from North Henan, mislabeled as a more costly variety and ill-suited for the local climate and soil, said Tong Junhua, vice director of the Zhumadian seed station. Had the weather been perfect, at least some rice would have grown, but heavy rains wiped out the inferior seeds.

The price difference between the varieties was minimal, Tong said.

“People are driven by greed, even if it’s just a little money,” he said. “They thought nothing would go wrong and figured why not.”

Why didn’t agricultural or local officials test the seeds, as they are required to do by law?

“I don’t know; I’m not clear why the relevant departments didn’t do their job,” Tong said, laughing but looking exasperated. (to be cont’d)


Read more from McClatchy Newspapers:
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/05/30/1655551_p2/cheated-on-seeds-deprived-of-justice.html#ixzz0pSRBGKu3

Related:
Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (1)

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