Farmers' Games in name only

Updated: 2011-11-01 08:05

(China Daily)

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Shenzhen city refused to send athletes to the second Guangdong province Farmers' Games, held in Jiangmen from Oct 20 to 28, because the city "doesn't have any farmers". Besides, Shenzhen's bureau of fishery, agriculture and forestry said a modern city should not attend farmers' games, says an article in China Youth Daily. Excerpts:

The Guangdong Farmers' Games has little to do with farmers, for the list of athletes contains a number of non-agricultural participants such as doctors, teachers and workers. The Farmers' Games is just like any university games in which even non-university students participate.

The Shenzhen authorities said they didn't want to attend the Farmers' Games as a mere formality. The authorities could take such a tough attitude because Shenzhen doesn't need the financial support of Guangdong province's department of agriculture. Although in the end, Shenzhen sent some delegates to "observe" the games, it made it clear that it was just fulfilling a requirement.

It's true that farmers, too, need to play sports and have their own championships, but that should not be a mere formality. Though organizers have taken some reformative measures such as including rice transplanting in the games, the event still doesn't reflect the real concerns of farmers.

The Farmers' Games should keep pace with the times. Since women, children and aged people in rural areas outnumber men because most of them have migrated to cities to work, it has become difficult to get enough people to work on the land, let alone attend the Farmers' Games.

Moreover, farmers don't need games or championships as a form of recreation. What they need is easing of their burden.

Therefore, providing them with good medical care and insurance, and opening more schools for their children are more urgent tasks for the authorities.