What's the benefit of high-rise farmers and rural appliances?
The real beneficiaries
The force behind the effort to “high-rise” China's farmers is the promise of enormous profits. According to scholar Li Jinjun: “This wave of constructing new rural villages, integrated planning of cities and villages, urbanizing the countryside – this movement to wipe out rural life – has very specific goals: expansion of the land area for construction and increasing financial gains from real estate.”
As for the ruralization of appliances, the goal is also clear: increase domestic demand for consumer goods. But when supervision is lax and implementation is driven by profit, these policies become no more than another thinly-veiled guise for those with privileged access to make a quick buck off of the government, and ultimately, China's taxpayers.
This plundering of the land for profit has forfeited farmers' birthright to their land, consumed what little money they had just begun to save, exploited what was left of their labor, and destroyed their confidence in the government. In many areas, farmers who had just barely clawed their way out of poverty have once again been pulled back into that age-old cycle. Society now faces a new type of unfairness, a new set of hidden dangers.
Amid the mess of high rises and appliances, the foundation of Chinese society is being shaken. Urban areas have begun to surround the countryside in this ancient agricultural nation with many people and little land. What will become of this place?