Volunteer’s Experience in Fei Xi County

Written on 2013-03-12

Women’s Rights in China

Yao Cheng

Advocacy for China’s woman rights had started in the Fei Xi County for three months, and have since then been extended to four towns, namely, Gao Liu, Gao Dian, Guan Ning and Ming Chuan. On the 7th March, I have followed the volunteers for the advocacy of women’s rights to the Jin Qiao Village in Guan Ning town at the Liu’An junction.

The Jin Qiao Village is located at the Da Bie Mountain Edge, in the 50s, man pass through this hilly area while digging the Pi River. This is Fei Xi County’s poorest village, populated by around 2800 villagers. The villagers are relatively scattered across the area, thus when we initially reached, we could not find a suitable location to distribute out the funds, therefore we have chosen the village committee centre as the location for it is located at the centre of the village.

More than ten villagers came early waiting to collect financial aids. (Photo by WRIC)

Due to the phone calls made earlier, more than ten villagers came early waiting to collect financial aids. When they collect the funds from our volunteers, many thought that the funds came from the village family planning committee, the confusion only cleared when we explained that we are a group of non-profit organizations and charitable individuals from the United States. The villagers told me that the family planning committee had also recorded the female babies’ particulars, and promised that the government will give some financial aid, however, none have ever receive it. These made the village officials present at the spot embarrassed.

There is no suitable location for agricultural farming here, hence to sustain living expenses, majority of the youth have moved to the cities and take on the laborious jobs, though that didn’t bring them much money. The family planning committee probably could not get the government funding in time, thus they are more than welcome to us when we came to distribute financial aids. It is also why she actively gave me information about the babies in this village and gave introduction on the current situation when I requested for it.

The family planning officer told me that this village has had 9 newborn babies this year, of which 7 are males and 2 are females, which shows the great gender disparity, the family planning task has become harder to accomplish. Most pregnancies occur when the women are out to town at work. As to why there are more baby boys than baby girls, she has no idea why, due to the inability to gather the situation during the women’s pregnancy. While we were distributing financial aids, a villager asked if we were able to give aid to a handicapped woman. She had the medical record to prove that she had disabilities but was unable to get financial aids for the handicapped. I immediately called to ask a handicapped friend located in He Fei City, and he explicitly told me that as long as there is medical proof, the government will certainly grant financial aid to that individual, he suggested that the funds may be withheld by the village, which explains why the woman did not get the aid. I asked the officer with regards to this issue, she replied that the money is used for subsistence allowance, thus there was no distribution of financial aid for the handicapped.

Gao Liu Zhen with her twin daughters, Kang Miao Han and Kang Miao Jie.Photo by WRIC 

As I participate in this campaign to help the baby girls, I have visited various village committees and became skeptical about the funds they get to go on regular holiday trips and drinking activities. These officers are not high-ranked government officials, they should only have limited monetary power, the government allocates out subsistence allowance in proportion to the population ratio. In our case of the handicap woman, she account for one share of the subsistence allowance, but the village had other plans for this funds. They had the financial aid for the handicap to be used for committee expense. Furthermore, regarding the financial aid that the government gives to the families with daughters, I believed that the government has certainly does their part, as I have seen the detailed record statements. Yet, as the villagers are generally quiet about it, they do not dare to request the village committees for funds every day. Even if they were to request for the funds, the village committees can simply used the excuse that the funds have yet to reach to stall for more time, and soon, who knows where the money goes to.

The corruption of the village committees pose a serious problem, which not only happen in Wu Kan, but almost in the whole country, poverty and corruption in the village has a direct relationship.

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