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

Posted by Author on May 30, 2010

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

DENG ZHUANG, China
— Peng Gonglin wasn’t an important man. He lived in a bare concrete house in a small village where women stoop beside ponds to scrub clothes in buckets and the men often harvest crops by hand.

When his rice fields came up empty last October, Peng had no influence and little cash. The 43-year-old farmer had spent almost all of his family’s savings and borrowed more to lease the land and buy seeds.

County experts in the central province of Henan tested the seeds he’d planted and determined that he’d been sold inferior goods. Peng begged for financial or legal help from the local agricultural bureau and its county seed station.

He took what remained of his family’s money and tried to bribe two local officials to intervene. They accepted the meals, massages and prostitutes, but they did nothing in return, according to a letter he later wrote.

Finally, on March 29 he returned to the county seed station to plead once more. Men there beat Peng about the head until he went home, humiliated.

Facing financial ruin, he carried out one last act of protest. Early the next morning, Peng Gonglin’s body was found hanging at the seed station.

The story of Peng’s lonely suicide reveals the pitfalls beneath the glossy surface of China’s booming economy. Ordinary Chinese who’ve been cheated or defrauded, especially in rural areas, find themselves trapped in neo-feudal conditions with no protection beyond the mercy of corrupt officials.

Outsiders are sometimes baffled by the emphasis Chinese leaders put on order and harmony, and their crushing response to any signs of unrest. From the turmoil in a village such as Deng Zhuang, though, it’s clear that the nation sits uneasily on deep social fault lines.

In the aftermath of more than a half-dozen attacks at schools across China during the past two months, in which men walked into classrooms and hacked small children with hammers or knives, many Chinese experts pointed to the lack of social safety valves and legal means of venting frustration.

“People at the bottom of the social ladder … are deprived of their rights to speak out, of their rights to appeal and petition,” said Hu Xingdou, an economics professor at the Beijing University of Technology who specializes in issues of rural development.

As one Chinese lawyer wrote in an online essay last month, “The lack of social justice makes people hate government officials. Once these burdens accumulate beyond people’s psychological endurance . . . they tend to act in an extreme way, whether to retaliate against society or to choose to commit suicide.” (to be cont’d)

Read more from McClatchy Newspapers: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/05/30/1655551/cheated-on-seeds-deprived-of-justice.html#ixzz0pSNJOIWS

2 Responses to “Chinese farmer ends his life– cheated on seeds, humiliated and deprived of justice (1)”

  1. vps said

    You have created a very nice article. Thanks

  2. The greater fraud is in selling genetically modified seeds that can’t be used to grow more than one generation of crops. In the old days, you only needed to acquire seeds once. The crops would generate new seeds for the next season.

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