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A tale of two very wealthy villages (4)

(China Daily)

08:09, April 27, 2012

A villager and her daughter enjoy themselves on a footpath in the village. Li Gen / for China Daily

Safe and sound

Almost every resident approached by China Daily bubbled with joy talking about life in Changjiang. Villagers said they feel safe and live comfortable and leisurely lives.

According to the local police station, in the half month ending March 31, the community saw a total of six thefts and no other crimes.

Liu Li, an auxiliary police officer at the community police station, said Changjiang is safer than most other areas in Jiangsu.

"Security guards patrol the village three times a day and residents feel safe here," she said.

But in the pursuit common prosperity, individuality and personal choice can suffer.

Families said they could not say no when the village proposed installing identical bronze gates at every household.

Villagers are not allowed to sell the gold and silver bars they were given because they are meant as commemorative items honoring Li, the village patriarch.

A slogan seen around the community reads: "Win honor for the government and don't bring it trouble."

On the political rights of local residents, the latest issue of the group's newspaper suggests that the sessions of workers' congress were held regularly, and Fan Xinglong, the village head, made a work report at the latest session on Feb 20.

"The election of village officials were held regularly," said Cao Jinqing, 66, a retired veterinarian.

"But only those making outstanding contributions to the village and who have a certain prestige could be chosen as candidates for village chiefs," he added.

The prosperity is closely linked to the village-owned group, a family business where Li's three children head a number of its subsidiaries. But few in the village have a clear idea of the share structure of the group.

Along with sharing in the success of these profitable industries, residents have to put up with the potential pollution.

In the west of the village, the Changjiang Steel Pipe plant owned by the group, separated from the living quarters simply by a wall, gives off a pungent odor.

Dividends paid out

Professionals in rural area studies said that the handout of gold and silver bars in Changjiang is just another form of distributing the dividends to involve everyone in the profit and success.

The success stories of the rich villages in East China are similar, they said. These villages seized golden development opportunities, had a capable leader and a management team full of family business features.

"More attention should be given to how to improve the wealth distribution and let the residents have a clear idea of how large a share they own in the collective assets so that they can anticipate such distribution," Du Zhixiong, a rural development institute professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in a recent interview.

【1】 【2】 【3】 【4】


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