Sichuan villagers sleep on stacks of cash worth 12m yuan to guard co-operative bonus

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 11:50am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 January, 2014, 9:11am

Several residents of a Sichuan village slept on stashes of cash worth more than 12 million yuan (HK$15.3 million) on Monday night to guard a village enterprise bonus due to be distributed to villagers the next morning, Huaxi Metropolis Daily reported.

“It is not comfortable at all to sleep on cash,” one of guards told the newspaper, adding that he was too worried to fall asleep.

The villagers slept on a “mattress” of 8 million yuan in cash and “pillows” of 4.2 million yuan before a total of 13.1 million yuan was distributed as a bonus to 340 households in Jianshe village, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture on Tuesday.

It took the villagers two days to distribute the “bricks” of a 2-metre-long “money wall” they built with the stashes of cash on Tuesday morning. “It took me so long to count the money that I almost lost strength and feeling in my hands,” the newspaper quoted villager Jin Ou, who received around 300,000 yuan, as saying.

Villager Yang Huai, who received 200,000 yuan on Tuesday, said it had been a custom in the village since 2010 to distribute the bonus in cash before the Chinese New Year.

A total of 340 out of a total number of 483 households are the shareholders of a rural cooperative established that year, which profits from pig farms, cherry orchards, and its investment in four small scale hydropower plants in Sichuan, said a village official surnamed Zhu.

The villagers are guaranteed with an annual bonus, despite villagers not being directly involved in the cooperative’s daily operations.

After the report was circulated online, many microbloggers asked how they could squeeze into the rural cooperative. “I should have stayed at home farming instead of working [in a city],” wrote a microblogger under the name Mark.

Speaking to the newspaper, village chief Jin Hongyuan suggested marrying the villagers, adding that one had to become a resident before he or she could buy a share.

Others online users questioned the wealth gap between different villages in Liangzhou, referring to the recent news story of a child labourer who refused to return to her impoverished hometown in Liangzhou after being rescued from a factory in Shenzhen.