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By William Pfaff | February 24, 1997
PARIS -- The future of China is commonly described as politically unsure, with economic development the remedy (on the simplistic assumption that markets create democracy). More likely is that China's troubles in the future will be economic, with political upheaval the result.The dynasty created by Mao Tse-tung is near its end. What is to replace the reign of peasant communism remains unknown. It is premature, and rash, to think that it will be democracy.The Communist revolution arrived at its inevitable Thermidor when Deng Xiaoping took supreme power, even if he had himself been implicated in the ideological turmoil and savagery of the ''Great Leap Forward,'' and had crushed the Tiananmen Square democracy movement in 1989.
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NEWS
By Gady A. Epstein and Gady A. Epstein,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | November 1, 2004
DUANYUAN, China - Tucked away down an unpaved cart path, behind a high brick fence, is about the strangest thing anyone could expect to find in the middle of rural nowhere, short of a UFO - an "experimental base" for building one. Well, technically, it's not unidentified, and it's not flying, but what Du Wenda is building here in eastern China is indisputably an object. Du, the son of a horse-cart driver, is founder and president of the Global UFO Scientific and Technological Research Institute of Xiao County of Anhui Province, an institute with a single proposition: to make a flying saucer for earthbound travel.
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NEWS
By Corinne Schmidt and Corinne Schmidt,Special to The Sun | October 3, 1990
HUANTA, Peru -- Several dozen dark-skinned people sit on the dusty ground of the Castropampa military base. At an army officer's barked command, they rise and stand at attention. But these are not soldiers. They are Indian peasants, members of a local "Civil Defense Committee."Earlier that morning, answering an army summons to appear at the military base in Huanta, they walked 6 miles from the hamlet of Quinrapa. With 5,000 other Huanta peasants, these men, women and children form the backbone of the Peruvian government's controversial civil defense effort, designed to enlist civilian support against the Maoist rebels of the Shining Path movement.
NEWS
By Gady Epstein and Gady Epstein,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | September 19, 2004
JINGBIAN, China - Consigned by geology to be among China's poorest farmers, the peasants in northern Shaanxi province, on the front porch of the Gobi Desert, hoped for a better life under the Communist Party, which made its base in this region during the revolution. The farmers' great chance finally came during the 1990s, when the state allowed them to take part in private oil drilling, an ambitious experiment in free enterprise in the undeveloped Chinese countryside. But when the experiment ended abruptly last year, it became a disaster for tens of thousands of farmers, a failure ordained this time by both geology and Communist rule.
NEWS
By CHICAGO TRIBUNE | May 11, 1996
COLONIA LUZ Y ESPERANZA, Paraguay -- The name of this Mennonite colony, set amid the red-dirt soybean fields and palm trees of rural eastern Paraguay, is Light and Hope. But there is little of either.Land-hungry peasants toting shotguns have come into the colony's fields, seeking to evict the American-born Mennonites from the land.The Rev. Philip Eichorn, the colony's minister and leader, has been shot at and forced to get police protection. Thefts of everything from farm equipment to animals are rampant.
NEWS
By Ian Johnson and Ian Johnson,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | February 14, 1996
ON THE FUYANG ROAD, China -- From a distance the peasants look like a straggly army, thousands of them spreading out into the fields along the road, loosely organized around red flags flapping from thin bamboo poles.In the long light of a winter morning they trudge through the dirt, struggling to level the land that will become a highway leading to a boomtown 20 miles north. They could be a road crew in any developing country except that here in China they are acting out a milleniums-old ritual: putting in weeks of unpaid, forced work -- usually known as corvee labor.
NEWS
By Cox News Service | January 6, 1991
FORMOND, Haiti -- Perched high on a misty mountaintop, the dense jungle of the threatened Pic Macaya rain forest is home to endangered plants and animals found nowhere else in the world and a winter refuge for birds from North, South and Central America.Concerned by deforestation, conservationists from Florida and Haiti are working together to save the jungle from impoverished peasants, who survive by hacking through the wilderness to chop down the majestic tropical pines for timber."It is one of the unique places in the Americas, a crossroads of species.
NEWS
By Ian Johnson and Ian Johnson,Beijing Bureau of The Sun | November 1, 1994
BEIJING -- In most countries, Ji Jianguo would be a model citizen: The 22-year-old works long hours selling fruit at a little stand in suburban Beijing, he sends money back home to his parents and is putting aside a bit more so he can start a business.But in China, Mr. Ji is part of a huge problem: a growing wave of uncontrolled migrant labor, one of the largest demographic movements in Chinese history that poses a serious challenge to the Communist regime.Recently driven off his family's land in Anhui because of a flood, Mr. Ji is one of 10 million peasants expected to leave their farms this year, adding to the 80 million who are already living in shantytowns on the edge of China's big cities and along the coast.
NEWS
By Robert Benjamin and Robert Benjamin,Beijing Bureau of The Sun | November 30, 1991
BEIJING -- Having stifled potential urban unrest for now, Chinese Communist Party leaders are turning their attention to shoring up their traditional base of support among the more than 800 million peasants in China's vast countryside.Ending a five-day plenum in Beijing yesterday, the party's Central Committee called for stepped-up party-building and socialist education efforts in rural areas, as well as increased investment in rural economic development and critical water control systems.
NEWS
By Ian Johnson and Ian Johnson,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | November 11, 1996
YULIN, China -- The final straw for many villagers in this region came in the early summer, when local officials demanded the equivalent of $10,000 in taxes for a new irrigation system.The village in north-central Shaanxi Province had already been assessed a one-time irrigation tax of $25,000, so no one could figure out how officials could need more money so soon. The answer quickly leaked out: Nearly half the original levy had been squandered by corrupt bureaucrats on banquets and junkets.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | November 14, 2003
While Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World storms into the Charles this weekend - and as worldwide audiences await Tom Cruise as The Last Samurai - the theater will also present a rip-roaring period classic as part of its Mifune-Kurosawa series. First released in 1958, The Hidden Fortress, a Japanese medieval entertainment, renders a comedy of ethical equilibrium as a sublime 16th-century civil-war epic. At the center is a righteous, ornery princess in disguise, piercing enemy lines to seek sanctuary in a friendly province, and a valiant, no-nonsense general (Toshiro Mifune)
NEWS
By Reed Lindsay and Reed Lindsay,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | September 30, 2003
BARINAS, Venezuela - Richard Padron was born under democracy and into modern-day vassalage. "My dad worked on a cattle ranch," says the sinewy Padron, 25, wearing mud-coated, black rubber boots and with a butcher knife in a leather sheath at his side. "The owner let him use five acres to grow corn and a few other crops to eat. The wages were enough for food, but not much else. I left school and began working with him when I was 14." Padron still lives in poverty. He and his wife and two children survive largely off corn, and they sleep in hammocks with several other families in a dilapidated concrete-block farmhouse.
NEWS
By Gady A. Epstein and Gady A. Epstein,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | September 14, 2003
SHANGSHAN, China - The oxygen tank at Wu Shengfu's side fills his scarred lungs with enough air to breathe but not enough to talk for long about why, at 48 years old, he will be dying soon. His friends do their best to help explain, even at the risk of being harassed by police, because many of them too will succumb to an early death. Slowly, the men of this village in central China are dying, and the local authorities here, having profited from their labors, would prefer that they die in silence.
NEWS
By Gady A. Epstein and Gady A. Epstein,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | June 15, 2003
KAI COUNTY, China - Seven weeks before her death, 15-year-old Deng Xiaofang sat on a small stool by her hospital bed and carefully wrote down what had happened to her, the story that family members say police had warned her not to tell and newspapers would later be ordered not to report. Deng was a dropout from a middle school in a mountain village. Her grammar was flawed, her vocabulary limited and heavy with local slang. But in neat handwriting in blue ink on nine lined pages of letter-size paper, the adopted daughter of farmers scrawled an account of her rape and the police's efforts to cover it up. Her new employers at a restaurant had put her in the hands of a stranger, she wrote, who sexually assaulted her, tried to pay her $6 and then left.
NEWS
By Megan Hall and Megan Hall,Sun Staff | May 19, 2002
The peasant look is everywhere, and Banana Republic has some of the hippest looks we've seen this spring. One of our favorites features puts together a cotton shear ribbed tank ($12) with a tiered ruffle skirt ($68) and a leather saddle belt ($42). Peasant, we think, never looked so new. Available at local stores or check out www.Bananarepublic.com. No lines, no worries Regular underwear leaves panty lines while thongs can be uncomfortable. What can save women from all this? Power Panties.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | October 10, 2001
Poland's former Communist Party, which came out ahead in national elections last month, formed a coalition with the Polish Peasants' Party yesterday. The move will allow the former Communists to form a government but could force them to pay homage to nationalistic and anti-European groups. The coalition will give the former Communists, the Democratic Left Alliance, control over a solid majority in the Parliament. But it could also complicate governing because the peasants' party is more hostile to budget austerity and other reforms necessary for Poland to win membership in the European Union.
NEWS
By Ian Johnson and Ian Johnson,Sun Staff Correspondent | March 20, 1995
XIAXI, China -- At first glance, this village in the Yangtze valley shows how 15 years of economic reforms have made China's 800 million peasants richer than ever.Its residents enjoy rising incomes. Some have saved to build houses. Plans for a new technology park promise high-paying construction jobs for the village's young men.But Xiaxi also shows why China is suffering its most serious agricultural crisis in decades. For like thousands of other villages, Xiaxi is losing its farmers to the cities and losing its arable land to development and neglect.
NEWS
By Ana Arana and Ana Arana,Special to The Sun | November 18, 1990
PUERTO ASIS, Colombia -- Ten years ago, peasants in this Putumayo River town in the Colombian Amazon region stopped growing corn and rice and began planting coca, which grows easily in this tropical land. Money poured into the town, but so did unsavory characters. Violence increased.There was so much money that everyone ignored the violence and enjoyed the good life. Peasants who lived in shacks without electricity bought gas-operated generators to run new refrigerators and stereo equipment.
NEWS
By Frank Langfitt and Frank Langfitt,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | April 18, 2001
BEIJING - Two farmers were slain and at least 17 wounded this week when police opened fire on angry peasants in a dawn raid in central China's Jiangxi Province in a battle over high taxes, according to villagers and officials. In phone interviews yesterday, residents of Yunxing village said the violence began Sunday morning when at least 600 police armed with rifles, pistols, electric batons, riot shields and wooden boards entered the village and began arresting farmers. As villagers came out of their homes to help neighbors, police fired at their feet and legs.
NEWS
By Frank Langfitt and Frank Langfitt,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | February 12, 2001
RUZHAI, China -- The minivan arrived before dawn outside Ma Yuerong's home in this tiny village of red brick homes, rutted roads and lush green wheat fields in Central China's Anhui Province. As Ma rose from her chilly bed, she was about to receive a brutal lesson on the corruption that pervades the Chinese countryside and the powerlessness of the Chinese peasant to resist. "We have to talk to you about something," a worker with the local Family Planning bureau said before stuffing her into the minivan and driving to an abandoned police station.
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