Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A684-W423

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A684-W423


Release Date: Jan. 21, 2012



Topic: The Way Out for China (Part L): Why the Gap between China's Urban and Rural Income is the World's Highest? -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:《中国的出路》之五十:中国的城乡收入差距全世界第一的原因 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)



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The Way Out for China (Part L): Why the Gap between China's Urban and Rural Income is the World's Highest?

-- Wei Jingsheng



Recently, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences released a report that the gap between China's urban and rural income is the world's highest.  Urban income is more than three times rural income.  In addition, several research institutions in China point out that this is a very conservative estimate; the actual difference should be five to six times.


In any case, for sure it is the world's most extreme.  The exploitation of rural people is also sure.  What is the reason behind this abnormal situation?  The experts inside China do not dare to say much outright.  Without freedom of speech, political pressure limits their expression.  So we cannot blame them.


We could find many reasons related to this issue.  However, there are two fundamental reasons: one is the corruption of the rural area authority at the grass-roots level; the other is the so-called Chinese model which needs to maintain cheap labor.  From these two reasons, there derive many other reasons.  It could be said that this huge gap between urban and rural income was purposefully created.


The corruption of the rural officials can be said to have reached its peak since ancient times.  I remember the time when I was in prison, I had a chat with a prisoner who monitored me.  I asked him: your hometown produces famous onions, if you just grew one Chinese acre of onions out of the 3 acres you have, you should be able to have enough money to get married to a woman instead of (got in jail for) raping a girl.


He said with a smile of contempt: what do you scholars know?  Regardless whether I grow onions or gold, it would be useless.  In the end, I could barely have enough to eat.  So I asked him why: "Even paying grain tax, after all the exorbitant taxes and levies, there should be a limit."  He laughed even harder: "What limit? So you scholars do not understand anything."  As he saw me confused, he explained: "Tell me how many policies there are from the central government.  For every policy, there is an exaction.  The central government did not say how much and how to take, so the officials at the production brigade have the final say.


I was shocked.  Would not this to force the peasants rebel?  He said it will not happen.  The officials usually will not want to make the locals rebel, for they themselves would be the first object of the rebellion.  So they calculated differently according to each family and its income to the degree that you will have some to eat, neither starving to death nor having much left.  The calculations were well done to make the people resent the officials yet feel it not worth rebelling.  This is sufficient.  So there is a saying that was quite right, especially for now: "Without extra money, you will not be rich; without eating grass in the night, the horses will be thin."  He said: "for people like us to get a wife, we have to get some extra money."


After some more conversation, I asked him a question on a different subject: "Isn't it all changed to towns and villages, why are they still called production brigades and communes?"  He thought it over and replied that he did not know.  After all it was still the Secretary of the Communist Party and its branch heads that were in charge.  There was not much difference.  


That made me really realize that the root cause of rural poverty in China is due to the authoritarian system that the Communist Party established in the countryside.  The Communist Party does not feed them, yet these rural officials know that the officials in the cities are enjoying the corruption.  With the road pointed by Deng Xiaoping, of course they would let their own people "get rich first" by adapting to and taking advantage of the local conditions.  Thus we see in the poor counties that need relief from the country, the rural cadres drive expensive Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs.


I guess there will be some scholars more pedantic than me would jump up and express their objection: is not the BMW and Mercedes-Benz also rural income?  So what you said about the gap between rich and poor is not right.  Just a few days ago, I heard people saying that I should not criticize the Chinese government's intention to change the Code of Criminal Procedure as a way to prove that the laws of the Communist Party are modified for the better.  I would say, first, the gap between rich and poor is reported by the Academy of Social Sciences and the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the Chinese government itself, so if someone says these numbers are rumors then they are rumored by the Communist Party itself.  Secondly, the BMW and Mercedes-Benz show not only the wealth gap between urban and rural areas, but the even greater wealth gap within the rural area itself.


More importantly, the corrupt consumption by the grass-roots cadres of the Communist Party, including the Mercedes-Benz and BMW, would be just the capital that the Chinese peasants need for the basic construction of their farms and agricultural production.  The corruption is the root reason that the economic development in the countryside is slow.  It is the root reason that the wealth gap between the cities and the countryside has been widening.  It is also the root reason that forces many peasant workers to flock to the cities.  Just for this reason, the so-called world's second largest economy offers the world's cheapest labor.  Of course, multinational corporations want to support authoritarian regimes like this.  Otherwise, how could they get the excess profits?


At this time, we will immediately see the scholars who like to brown their noses from the Chinese government come out to explain that this situation is inherent during development.  This explanation is an example of using truth to lie.  Indeed, there will be a widening of the wealth gap during development.  If continued without restriction and regulation, it will not just happen during the initial stages of the development, but it will also be maintained well after development stabilizes.  That is because the natural law of the capital market is to maximize profits.  The intended result of the capital and politics combined is to guarantee the maximization of profits.


However, democracy is not unfettered capitalism.  It is not a totally free capitalism that lets the market rule without any restriction.  A democratic society tries to take care of both the market and social interests.  Regardless whether it is social democracy in name or not, restricting and regulating the market in order to guarantee the interests of the members of society is widely practiced in modern democratic states.  The most often discussed issue in the parliaments of the democratic countries is how to find the best balance between the assurance of a market economy and the guarantee of the people interests.


Or, using a term that scholars are familiar with that average people do not quite understand, the parliaments try to find a balance between efficiency and equity.  If a political party cannot find the correct balance, then the voters will choose a different party to look for it.  The average people do not have to be scholars.  Without so called "improving the quality of the citizens" people do know fairness and efficiency -- by just checking on their own wallets, people know whom to vote for.


But can you vote in China?  Although there are devout Americans paid with high wages who went to China to "teach" people how to elect, people can only elect according to the Communist Party intention, or just elect some lower ranking running dogs for the higher officials of the Party.  Therefore, the Communist Party does not need to choose between equity and efficiency at all.  Before the Communist Party took over China, it used fairness to kick the others away.  After it took over the country, it only cared about the interest and efficiency of the party and country, not the people.


Now with "economic reform", the efficiency is greatly improved, and so is the corruption.  The Communist officials only care about the interest of the bureaucratic capitalist class and multinational capital, i.e., their own interests.  Even the Communist Party and China as a nation have become their private property.  The Chinese people are just working screws on this big machine for them to make profit.  What is the need to discuss fairness with some screws?  According to the surplus value theory of Karl Marx, all these people need is enough food to stay alive.  From this level, the Chinese Communist Party indeed is Marxist.  There are those saying that this political party is not Communist anymore, which is just a rumor made by scholars hired by the Western multinational companies, throughout, as literally from the composition of its Chinese characters "Gong Chan", the Communists have been taking away others' property (to share within themselves).


This is the root reason that the average Chinese person is working so hard yet is still poor.



To hear Mr. Wei Jingsheng's related commentary, please visit:



(Written on September 21 and recorded on September 22, 2011.  Broadcasted by Radio Free Asia.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A684-W423

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A684-W423


Release Date: Jan. 21, 2012



Topic: The Way Out for China (Part L): Why the Gap between China's Urban and Rural Income is the World's Highest? -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:《中国的出路》之五十:中国的城乡收入差距全世界第一的原因 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)









-- 魏京生











他轻蔑的笑着说:你们这些书生懂什么?我种大葱还是种黄金都没用,最后还是只够吃饭。我忙问为什么,就是交公粮,即使是苛捐杂税也是有数的。他更笑了:什么有数的,要不说你们书生什么也不懂呢。我听了就更不懂了。他解释说:你说说中央有多少种政策吧。有一种政策就有一种苛捐杂税。中央也没说收多少,怎么收, 那还不是大队干部说了算。



































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