March 11, 2002
Premier Wen Jiabao has said the continued ‘reckless occupation’ of farmland would ‘create large numbers of landless farmers and present a grave problem for the sustainable development and stability of the countryside and whole economy and society.’
Beijing: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said seizures of farmland are provoking widespread rural unrest as his government pledged efforts to improve the livelihood of poorly paid rural migrant workers.
“We absolutely can’t commit an historic error over land problems,” said Wen in a speech made late on Dec. 29 but only issued in China’s state-run press on Friday.
“Some locales are unlawfully occupying farmers’ land and not offering reasonable economic compensation and arrangements for livelihoods, and this is sparking mass incidents in the countryside.”
The government on Thursday promised to improve treatment of the tens of millions of rural migrants who work in the factories, building sites and shops fuelling the country’s boom.
In many parts of China, these workers’ incomes have stagnated or risen slightly for the past decade, despite annual economic growth of about 10 percent. Without legal recourse, many go unpaid and are vulnerable to abuse.