Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Interesting Facts about Chinese Living Today

- If you are resident in a city, you are entitled to a level of social security. However, if you're a farmer or live in the countryside, even though you also pay taxes, you are not entitled to any social security. This is why many rural dwellers strive very hard to get permanent jobs in the cities in order to become 'city members'. A mass movement is taking place into the cities,

- All land is owned by the government and therefore the people. Farmers rent the land from them. More than half the produce that comes from the land is collected from the farms, tea plantations etc. by gorvernment workers. The government sets the price they'll sell these goods at and it's ten times what they pay the farmers. However, if there is a crisis in one part of the country, for example a lack of rice production because of drought, the government will support that area with goods from the other areas, at a much reduced rate.

- Facebook, blogs and any other websites which could potentially have people grouping together and becoming vocal against the government are banned. It just comes up, Internet Explorer cannot find this page. If you write an email, there's a noticeable delay in sending as it's censored by central government.

- Lack of freedom of speech is a definite issue for the younger people especially and it's a frightening thought to think that if you speak against the government you'll receive death threats and, if you persist, you'll 'disappear' as they say.

- On the flip side, respect for authority, especially police, is much higher here, as punishments are a lot more severe. For the crime of peddling drugs in China the punishment is death. As long as the trials are fair and just, some people would go along with the idea that the punishments do sometimes fit the crime. The death penalty is a pretty adequate detterent to stop someone ruining hundreds of thousands of peoples' lives by supplying them drugs.

- Having said all this, we've heard that there is corruption on every level here, from the police right up to the government. As it becomes more open to the world things may change, but it remains a pretty dark place in certain respects.