Features | Environment | Ethnic Minorities | Livelihoods
It is a decade since mass tourism arrived in the picturesque northwest Yunnan towns of Dali, Lijiang and Zhongdian. But what of the villages and townships that some more adventurous tourists are beginning to visit? Julie Perng visits four communities that hope to embrace tourists without being overwhelmed by them.
In 2006, total receipts from tourism in Yunnan Province reached CNY 49.97 billion (USD 6.2 billion), almost 90% of which came from Chinese tourists. Receipts were up 16.7% on the previous year, and accounted for 12.5% of the provincial GDP. The tourism industry is clearly flourishing in one of China’s most ethnically, geographically, and biologically diverse provinces.
Environment | Livelihoods
Grassland conservation and development cannot be separated from pastoralist culture and people, but decision-makers have ignored this over the past decades, academic experts and environmentalists say.
Some have started initiatives to bring people involved in grassland issues together for better policy-making and research.
At the 16th International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences Conference to be held in Kunming in July 2008, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) will host a parallel meeting to discuss the grassland environment and changes in herders’ lives.
Corporate Social Responsibility | Labour and Migration | Law and Rights | Livelihoods | Media
Senior Chinese officials vowed to act on an international NGO and trade union report alleging abusive practices in four Pearl Delta factories contracted to produce goods for the 2008 Olympics, even as the report was overshadowed by shocking revelations of forced child labour in brick kilns in the provinces of Henan and Shanxi.
Features | Livelihoods | Subscription-only Content
At the end of 2005, the People’s Bank of China (China’s central bank) launched a pilot initiative to create new, privately invested lending institutions in some of China’s poorest areas. A year later, the China Banking Regulatory Commission announced measures to stimulate new “village banks” and financial cooperatives, and on the last day of 2006 it also licensed the Post Office Savings Bank to enter the rural credit market. Rural finance experts have welcomed the new measures. But, Nick Young reports, many earlier efforts to encourage rural credit have faltered and it may be some time yet before financial services trickle down to the poor.
Features | Civil Society | Livelihoods | Subscription-only Content
In January the Ministry of Agriculture launched a month-long drive to inform farmers and local officials about the new Law on Farmer Professional Cooperatives (农民专业合作社法). Given China’s long and varied experience of things called “cooperative” it might take longer than a month to get the message through, Chang Tianle (常天乐) concluded after visiting Anhui, Sichuan and Yunnan.
Livelihoods | Subscription-only Content | First Person
Although average rural incomes have failed to keep pace with rising urban incomes, some people in China’s countryside are managing to thrive. Here, Ren Xuping (任旭平) tells Chang Tianle (常天乐) about his journey from poverty to relative prosperity in rural Sichuan, and how this led him to become a social entrepreneur.
Civil Society | Livelihoods
Five Chinese NGOs have been awarded government funds to facilitate village-level poverty alleviation and development projects in Jiangxi Province as part of an Asia Development Bank-supported programme whose progress was discussed at a forum in Beijing on January 19.
This was the second round of funding in a two-year programme that has the backing of the State Council’s Leading Group of Poverty Alleviation and Development Office and its local counterpart in Jiangxi. They are together providing around USD 1.7 million to match a USD 1 million ADB technical assistance grant.
China in the World | Livelihoods | Media
A steep rise in soybean and cotton imports, mainly from the United States, has led to falling prices for Chinese farmers, with the result that “many . . . get almost nothing from the plant[s]” and twenty million have given up farming altogether, according to the November 30 issue of Beijing Review.
Civil Society | Governance and Social Policy | Livelihoods | Subscription-only Content
A recently published World Bank study of farmers’ associations in China reviews a number of policy experiments that are now culminating in a draft Law on Farmers’ Economic Professional Cooperatives (农民经济专业合作社), which is expected to be released for public consultation before the end of the year, writes Nick Young. But, the authors of the World Bank study warn, although a clear legal framework would be a major breakthrough, local governments should support the development of farmers’ organisations without being tempted to direct or dominate them.
Ethnic Minorities | Livelihoods | Subscription-only Content
Although in theory farmers in China can access credit through a national network of Rural Credit Cooperatives, in practice these are not always able or willing serve poor, remote communities. Numerous local and international NGOs have tried to plug the gap by offering microfinance as part of integrated rural development projects. Myriam Bartu explores the difficulties and the achievements of these schemes and, in a downloadable attachment, presents case studies of five NGO projects in Sichuan and Yunnan.