now here’s something…

June 29th, 2007

…I hadn’t heard about before.

More Help to Be Given to Returned Chinese“, says the headline, so I’m thinking it’s just another announcement of some refined package designed to lure Chinese students back to the Motherland when the graduate, but no…

“State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan yesterday announced 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.”

Right. Now, I was well aware that many people, and not only Chinese, came to China in the period mentioned, and for many reasons. But I had no idea that farms had been set up for overseas Chinese who returned to the warm embrace of the Motherland from the 1950s to the 1970s. At first glance my Kiwi eyes think there’s something wrong here. Wouldn’t such farms have been illegal or counter-revolutionary? Wasn’t everything supposed to be collectivised and communise? But the article mentions things like wages and pension payments, so I guess these were state or collective farms set up specifically for overseas Chinese. Unfortunately, the only other information about these farms in the article, beyond the list of measures to be taken to ease the plight of the returnees, is this:

“There are 84 such farms in seven provinces across the country, with a population of about 600,000.”

Now, with a population of 600,000, these are clearly collectives. Or maybe state farms, but I’ll go with collectives for now. And with 84 such farms in seven provinces, there was clearly some kind of system for organising the returnees into these collective farms. But that’s all I can deduce from the rather scant information in this article, and I can’t understand how I hadn’t heard of such things before.

Anybody know any more about this? I mean, given the time periods involved, the obvious events that occured, and the obvious foreign-connections of these farms and the returnees, one cannot help but wonder…

2 Responses to “now here’s something…”

  1. Jamieson Says:

    Strange eh ? Anyway, just wanted to drop in and say G’day, and let you know that your experiences mirror mine in Suzhou, but I tend to skip the buses (generally full with the air-con set at a nice, sweaty, humid and hot 29 degrees, for 2 kuai) and ride the electric bike or get a taxi if we’re facing rain/lightning/thunder. My weblog :

    Might I be so bold as to suggest that you go ‘down south’ to Suzhou ? My honey is also a lovely Chinese lady from South Anhui. Got the red booklets with the couple photos. Well done Chris, Kiwi Mate. You have a great blog !


  2. wangbo Says:

    Cheers, Jamieson, but no, you may not suggest a move to Suzhou. Well, I’m sure at some stage we’ll at least visit, but our plan is to stay in Beijing for now. Thanks for the suggestion, though.