Chinese university students’ work ruined as villagers ‘steal research crops for food’

Students arrive at their field to find villagers making off with their corn, according to report

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 July, 2018, 5:33pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 July, 2018, 6:10pm

Agricultural university students in southern China have had their research disrupted after villagers allegedly stole their valuable experimental crops, a local newspaper reported on Monday.

The students, from Hunan Agricultural University in Liuyang, were told that several people had been seen taking corn from one of their research fields on Saturday morning, so they went to investigate, a teacher was quoted as saying in a report by Xiao Xiang Chen Bao yesterday.

“We were first alerted by our canteen staff, and when we arrived on site the villagers scattered in all directions on tricycles and electric bikes,” the teacher was quoted as saying.

A woman aged over 80 who was carrying about 5kg (11lbs) of crops on foot was stopped by students at the site, the report stated.

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Local police were called, and they helped the students reclaim the corn from the woman, but other corn was not returned, it said.

Students were quoted as saying that it was not the first time villagers had taken their research crops from the field, and that tourists who had stopped to photograph their rapeseed had also tried to take it.

“Villagers picked the corn for food, but the crop is worth millions of yuan for our scientific research,” said a student in the report.

The students said there was no hope of them continuing to use the crops for research, according to the report.

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Another of their teachers was quoted as saying that because of the crops’ importance to one of the student’s graduation project, it was not certain that they could still graduate.

In a similar case in 2016 in Jiangsu province, eastern China, agricultural researchers found that their high-quality taro crop had been taken by villagers, ThePaper.cn reported previously.

Six years before that, it reported, four people were arrested for theft after they allegedly ate research grapes in Beijing worth more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,500).

Hunan Agricultural University has called on the local government to step in, according to Xiao Xiang Chen Bao.