A man scavenges his old village after bulldozing in China
Li Rui, 60, scavenges his former village -- now bulldozed into a giant construction site -- for building materials in Liaocheng in the northeastern Chinese province of Shangdong.
Li was a farmer until three years ago, when the local government announced it would raze down his village and turn farmland into an urban development zone.
Li said he and other villagers were involuntarily moved to another village. This year Li expects to be resettled into one of the high-rises behind the row of commercial residential buildings in the back of this picture, where former Chen Zhuang villagers are being relocated en masse.
Li says he was compensated for the relocation but not adequately. He has no income, no land, and no skill applicable to the marketplace. However, he is happy to move into a comfortable urban environment, where he no longer needs to till the land.
Instead, Li is scavenging. This could bring him a few yuan for a few hours work, he says.
China is pushing ahead with a dramatic, history-making plan to move 250 million rural residents into towns and cities over the next dozen years — but without a clear idea of how to pay for the gargantuan undertaking or whether the farmers involved want to move.
Moving farmers to urban areas is touted as a way of changing China’s economic structure, with growth based on domestic demand for products instead of exporting them. In theory, new urbanites mean vast new opportunities for construction firms, public transportation, utilities and appliance makers, and a break from the cycle of farmers consuming only what they produce.
Urbanization has already proven to be one of the most wrenching changes in China’s 35 years of economic reforms. Land disputes rising from urbanization account for tens of thousands of protests each year.
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- COPYRIGHT BY J.JIN, 2012 by Justin Jin. All rights reserved.
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