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Former farmer sells feather broom in urban China

Liu Yong, a 59-year-old former farmer, ekes out a living in the city selling chicken-feather brushes in the centre of Chongqing city in southwestern China.

He earns around 1,000 yuan a month selling these products, made of feathers he collects from chicken farms.

His village was razed down several years ago by the government and has since lived in resettlement housing on the edge of the metropolis.

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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Liu Yong, a 59-year-old former farmer, ekes out a living in the city selling chicken-feather brushes in the centre of Chongqing city in southwestern China.  <br />
<br />
He earns around 1,000 yuan a month selling these products, made of feathers he collects from chicken farms. <br />
<br />
His village was razed down several years ago by the government and has since lived in resettlement housing on the edge of the metropolis. <br />
<br />
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.<br />
<br />
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.<br />
<br />
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.