State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan announced Thursday a package of measures
covering aid, debt-relief and social security to ease the plight of the returned
overseas Chinese working on farms set up for them between the 1950s and 70s.
Local governments are required to provide subsidies for agriculture and
forest farms run by the returnees and offer them favorable land and credit
The governments shall also waive a proportion of the land-use fees and
properly handle farms' debt issues, Tang said in a State Council report to the
country's top legislature.
Last year, the State Council waived two-thirds of the total debts of such
farms through debt restructuring, he told the Standing Committee of the National
People's Congress (NPC).
In addition, local governments have been asked to help the farms clear up in
arrears wages and pension payments, medical bills and social security
contributions within two years. The problems of dilapidated structures,
infrastructure development and land-use rights must be tackled in about three
years, Tang said.
The farms are also encouraged to develop processing and service industries.
To implement the measures, Tang said the central government had so far this
year allocated 51.42 million yuan ($6.75 million) in special subsidies.
There are 84 such farms in seven provinces across the country, with a
population of about 600,000.
The measures are being introduced to address the problems discovered in a
national inspection organized by the NPC standing committee last year.
It found that many of the farms run by the returned overseas Chinese were in
the red and unable to pay wages, pensions and medical bills. Some did not enjoy
the same favorable polices as local farms did, and their employees received
lower wages than local farmers.
Also at the NPC standing committee meeting yesterday, vice-committee Chairman
Lu Yongxiang said a recent national inspection on the implementation of the
Compulsory Education Law had shown that rural schools were still badly in need
The inspection found that many schools were forced to hold sports classes on
the road because of a lack of playgrounds. In addition, there was a lack of
teachers in many areas due to them leaving the profession because of decreasing
salaries, the inspection found.