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Many Rural Cadres Unpaid Due to Shrinking County Tax Collections

China News Digest, 5 March 2002

[CND, 03/05/02] Many cadres in China's rural areas are owed thousands of yuan in back wages, the South China Morning Post reported.

The county Government owed us several months' back pay as it was in financial difficulties, said one cadre in Laishui county, Hebei province. In the worst cases, some cadres in Hunan province's Shaoyang and Xinshao counties, received only half their salary or less for the entire year.

According to a study of 188 counties in Hebei province by the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), 136 counties still own salaries to its officials.

The same study also found that wages were owed to rural cadres in 26 of the country's 31 provinces.

It is hard to imagine how to arouse the officials' enthusiasm if they cannot be paid on time, Xiao Wanjun, a CPPCC member who took part in the investigation, was quoted as saying by the English-language China Daily newspaper.

XIAO Wanjun, a CPPCC member who took part in the investigation, thinks the main reason for the problem was a decline in the price of agricultural products, which cut farmers' incomes and, in turn, lowered the revenue raised by county governments.

Since 1997, farm produce has been oversupplied since and market prices have yet to hit the bottom.

Rural governments' attempt to increase tax collection by collecting extra levies also failed to work, as farmers with more crops are penalized and thus discouraged from working hard. (Ray ZHANG)