The Islamic Post Blog

Uighur Farmers Appeal Against Forced Collectivization by ipinfo2
March 25, 2009, 6:04 am
Filed under: March Volume 2009, World | Tags:

By Bashirah A. Malik
Islamic Post Staff Writer

A farmer from China’s impoverished northwestern Xinjiang region was turned away by authorities in Beijing after he went there demanding compensation for a failed compulsory crop plan.
Hakim Siyit, a farmer from Yengisar County in Xinjiang’s western Kashgar area, claims that a compulsory “long bean” production plan was put into effect in 2007 for Yengisar county in Xinjiang’s western Kashgar region, resulting in heavy financial losses for farmers when harvest supply grossly overshot demand. Later that year the plan was repeated with similar results. In all, Siyit says, the farmers of Yengisar County suffered nearly $50 million Yuan (U.S. $7.3 million) in lost profit, loans that they could not repay, and equipment they could no longer use.
In China the majority of her impoverished citizens make a living farming. China has in place a “compulsory production plan”. The plan is for the Communist government to control what crop a farmer plants on their farm. Conversely, China’s compulsory crops plan is nothing new. It is very similar to the Soviet Union’s communist leader Josef Stalin’s collectivization plan introduced in the late 1920s. When his idea of collective farming failed to attract farmers, mostly poor peasants; Stalin resorted to forcefully implementing his plan, by murder and wholesale deportation of farmers to Siberia. The immediate effect of forced collectivization was reduced grain output and almost halved livestock, thus producing major famines in 1932 and 1933. Millions died of starvation in one of the most fertile regions in the world of farming.
However, according to China’s law on the Popularization of Agricultural Technology, any entity causing loss to farmers through the forced adoption of technology is required to repay total damages. Siyit, a member of the mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic group made his way to China’s State Council in Beijing last September to lobby on behalf of his fellow farmers. His effort got him taken to the Public Affairs Office of Xinjiang in Beijing where he was detained against his will and forced to return home with empty promises.
For over two years, Siyit and several other farmers have unsuccessfully attempted to file a complaint against the planning policies of Yin Xiaoliang, secretary of the communist party’s Yengisar County Branch. “Being the secretary, he should have known that the supply would be much higher than the demand, and there would be a lot of waste,” stated Siyit. The Yengisar regions 12 villages have a combined population of 240,000. “If only the secretary had organized it so that one village would grow long beans, another would grow tomatoes, another peppers, and another eggplants…” stated Siyit.
A government official with the Disciplinary Inspection Committee of Kashgar County, who did not provide his name, said he was aware of the farmers’ petition. “Originally we considered going to Yengisar country together with an agricultural business management group were to investigate the case. But when they asked permission [from deputy secretary of the prefecture’s party committee Zhang Jian], he stopped us. We were told ‘You shouldn’t go, let the county leader investigate first,’” the official said. Basically the matter still remains in doubt.
Siyit plans to continue his fight, despite the hardships he has faced, so that he can bring justice to the farmers of Yengisar County. “I just wanted to go [to Beijing] for the benefit of people, hoping to get a good answer. The fact that I did not know Chinese cost me a lot…It was as if I could not speak and I could only weep for my complaints,” he stated.
Early this month, Russia released the first of three volumes documenting the Soviet Union’s catastrophic famine of the early 1930s due to misguided Communist policies.


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