Peasants' lot will improve, vows Zhu

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 March, 1999, 12:00am

PREMIER ZHU has vowed to respect the rights and improve the livelihood of peasants.

He made the statement during a group discussion with NPC delegates from his native Hunan province yesterday.

Mr Zhu pointed out the land rights of farmers cannot be changed and that their tax burdens must not be raised.

He added that 'procurement prices paid by the Government must be low and cadres must never be fierce'.

The Premier admitted there were 'contradictions' between cadres and the masses, and said this had arisen partly because of the 'rough working style' of officials.

He said much of the new expenditure expected to be approved by the NPC would be used to improve agrarian infrastructure, particularly irrigation and flood-prevention works.

He said the central Government would never tolerate 'beancurd' infrastructure, a reference to poorly built dykes that collapsed during last summer's flooding.

'Any official who uses the people's money to produce beancurd engineering works will be sinners who will never be forgiven,' the semi-official China News Service quoted Mr Zhu as saying.

The Premier said that 'unstable elements' existed in some villages.

'We must pay full attention to these unstable factors and try to solve them adequately,' he said.

He reiterated that social stability was crucial to economic development.