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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 08:22, October 19, 2004
Fifth national peasants' games opens
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As the only regularly-held sports gala for peasants, China's fifth edition of the National Peasants' Games lifted its curtain in Yichuhn, south China's Jiangxi Province on October 18.

Chinese vice president Zeng Qinghong, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, announced the Games' opening at a spectacular opening ceremony Monday night.

Yichun, a city northwest of Jiangxi province in south China, opens its arms to 2,560 peasant athletes and 700 coaches from 32 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities including Taiwai.

Hong Kong and Macao sent delegations to observe the big gathering to make it a full house while the athletes compete in the next six days.

Some typical geoponic skills such as planting and fishing entered the Games as official events, which also include traditional Chinese sports like lion and dragon dance and dragon boat race.

China, the most populous country in the world, has a giant number of 900 million of peasants, almost 200 million more than the total population of Europe.

For the past 20 years, life of the peasants have improved greatly, which enables them to shift part of their attention from struggling to make a living to recreation.

For many peasants who enjoy a well-off life now, sports seem to have become indispensable.

"How to make money is no longer my headache and I like to spend it on sports," said one basketball player from Zhejiang, who is a wholesaler of socks.

For those who still work in the field, China's rural reform helped to steadily lift their income.

Take Xiaogang Village in eastern China's Anhui Province, the cradle of China's rural reform as example.

In 2003, grain yield in Xiaogang hit 600,000 kg, 40 times that in 1978, and the income of local villagers averaged at 2,100 yuan (253 US dollars), 96 times that in 1978, when 18 peasants signed a secret agreement at the risk of severe punishment, dividing the then People's Commune-owned farmlands into pieces for each family to cultivate on its own.

Source: Xinhua

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