A Global Times editorial reports Chinese farmers receiving huge compensation for selling bubble-priced land to speculators or the government.
What’s particularly worrying about this land-grab is that they’re selling their life-sustaining land, the source of their jobs, in exchange for cash many are simply burning through quickly:
The Harbin Daily recently reported on an alarming phenomenon: Some farmers who received big compensation for the loss of land due to urbanization are spending heavily on luxury cars and gambling. The paper warns of the likelihood such spendthrift farmers will slide down into poverty.
That’s not news to me.
Last year a railway project required the requisition of land and houses in my home village in southern China. One family miraculously filled up its courtyard with buildings of all sorts, and was compensated with five apartments in the town plus over 1 million yuan ($146,412) in cash. The son of the family promptly doled out over a quarter of the money for a car. He has no regular job.
Of course, it could be worse. The author points out how many farmers don’t even receive compensation for giving up their land, or how most land sales aren’t voluntary.