"Peasant is not a derogative word"

By Jeff Pan (Chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2007-03-12 15:43

"Peasant, the hardworking and simple, should not be considered a derogative word," said Yuan Chunqing, Governor of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, on a nationally televised talk show.

The noun "peasant" has been using as adjective as part of a posh Chinese vocabulary for many, describing those who are unstylish and ill-informed.

Yuan Chunqing, Governor of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, with emcee Cui Yongyuan on a CCTV talk show. [CCTV]

Yuan, who had been a peasant in the late 1960s, noted it is "uncivilized" to affix derogative connotations to peasant, which for him usually means guilelessness, diligence, and the down-to-earth spirit.

He also said it's already unstylish and outdated to use the word "peasant" to refer to people with ill manners and narrow outlooks.

Thanks to the growth of sizzling Chinese economy, more and more peasants who were originally bound to their farmlands also begin to see the world. Of China's 900 million people from the country, it is estimated that 200 million of them go to the cities to become "migrant workers", who mainly engage in construction, manufacturing, and restaurant businesses.

According to a proposal in the ongoing 2007 NPC and CPPCC, migrant workers will also be represented in the National People's Conference next year.

Here is a song titled "peasant" by Hong Kong rock band Beyond.


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