Rural poverty deepens

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 September, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 September, 1998, 12:00am

Rural incomes and spending are falling more steeply than expected, a survey in Hunan, Henan and Sichuan provinces found.

The survey, reported in the People's Daily, is a fresh sign that the central government will not be able to boost domestic demand.

Lower state grain prices have cut per capita incomes of Henan peasants by 62 yuan (about HK$57). A three-year low in the price of pigs has also damaged incomes.

The survey found that the income of Hunan pig farmers would be reduced by 5.4 billion yuan.

With 10 per cent fewer peasants finding work in towns, their remittances were also falling. A report in the People's Daily expressed fears the tax burden was not being adjusted.

In many parts of the countryside peasants have to pay taxes for butchering animals or for growing 'special products' as well as heavy fees for education, water projects and electricity.