On China’s Poor

Here.

The bottom line is that the Olympics are not very important to the rural poor, who are unenthused by the prospect of glory for a country that has not done well by them. It’s telling that when recent polls have been done of Chinese satisfaction with their current life, the samples almost never include rural people. Rural Chinese women have one of the highest suicide rates in the world, while other polls of rural areas show high rates of anger at the high taxes and fees levied on rural people, essentially so that local officials can gorge themselves. “We don’t see the point of these Games,” one peasants’ activist told me last year, just after the police had thrown her out of her temporary house for the umpteenth time to stop her from protesting more. “We thought it might be good but it doesn’t help us”–sentiments echoed by nearly every other rural activist I’ve spoken with.

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