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[Opinions & Suggestions代表建言] 委员建议建立失地农民保障体系Villagers' future blowing in the wind

全国政协委员张元富在9日上午举行的全国政协十一届四次会议第三次全体会上发言指出,目前中国失地农民累计不少于4000万人,必须建立政府主导的失地农民社会保障体系,尽快研究制订《失地农民社会保障条例》,建立健全统一规范的失地农民社会保障机制。

张元富发言中引用数据称,目前中国失地农民累计不少于4000万人,仅“十一五”期间每年新增失地农民约200万人。据抽样调查,有60%失地农民生活困难,没有因失地影响基本生活的只占30%。有81%的失地农民对未来生活担忧。

张元富委员说,农民失去土地,就失去了上能养老、下能抚幼的长期生活保障资源。要使农民得到广泛、持久、可靠的保障,必须建立政府主导的失地农民社会保障体系。张元富建议,政府要规范征地行为,履行征地告知、确认和听证程序,保障农民征地前的知情权和咨询权、征地中的参与权和话语权、征地后的受益权和监督权,并建议提高补偿标准。

Confiscation of farmland, insufficient compensation and a lack of employable skills have left millions of Chinese farmers living difficult lives, with many losing confidence in their future, said a national political adviser on Wednesday.

About 60 percent of farmers who had lost their land found life more difficult after their land was confiscated, while only 30 percent said their life was not affected, said Zhang Yuanfu, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee.

More than 80 percent worried about their future.

Zhang was speaking at the ongoing annual session of the political advisory body in the capital, quoting figures from a survey by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Among the 7,187 farmers polled, nearly 25 percent went to cities to make a living, 27 percent started small businesses, 25 percent chose to continue farming and 20 percent became unemployed, Zhang said.

Experts estimate that more than 40 million farmers have lost their farmland, and about 2 million became landless in each of the past five years, he said.

The NBS survey showed that among those who worried about their future, 73 percent worried about life in their senior years, 63 percent worried about their income, while 53 percent worried about their medical treatment, he said.

Under current Chinese law, rural land is collectively owned - and while farmers have the right to use the land, they cannot own it. The government has the right to confiscate that land in the public interest.

However, a recent survey released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences suggests that in reality many cases of confiscation are done for commercial reasons.

"Losing land means a farmer loses the most precious treasure of his family, the basis to make a living, as well as his security to support the elderly and raise the young," Zhang said.

Chen Lirong, a farmer in Jiangjin district, Chongqing municipality, said the 1,330 square meters of farmland her household farmed was confiscated last year and each family member received compensation of 28,000 yuan ($4,260).

"The money is not enough for my family to afford an apartment in town. So I'm in debt now. Since I lost my land, I have to work in a nearby factory and I can only earn less than 1,000 yuan a month," the 45-year-old told China Daily.

"Many people in my village are in the same situation and I even have a problem affording my daughter's college tuition fees," she said.

Zhang said "public interest" needed to be clearly interpreted in the law.

"Governments should not confiscate the land if it's not in the public interest, and farmers should have a say in the confiscation and they should be granted rights to supervise land use," Zhang said.

He also called for more compensation to be offered to farmers.

A solution to farmers' basic living, employment and social security should be a key index to gauge the achievement of local governments, he said.

"All farmers should be covered by the country's pension system and enjoy medical and unemployment insurance and the minimum living security payment," he added.