Human locusts ruin farmer
AFTER the Spring Festival, the Hui Nationality celebrates
Corban Festival but Ma Rulin, a national model worker,
has found he has little to celebrate.
Ma’s family lives in Kangle County of Gansu Province
and they have only a small bunch of shallots and two
bunches of leeks for the coming festival. There’s also
about 150 kilograms of potatoes in the cellar.
Ma’s eldest son said the family had only one chicken
to eat during the Spring Festival.
But the people of Kangle County know that Ma has
been famous since the 1980s forshavingsmade a fortune
from his tree plantations.
“My poverty-stricken life today can be mostly attributed
to batches of officials visiting me after I had become
well known,?said 61-year-old Ma.
To entertain and feed his high-level visitors, Ma
had to spend most of his income, according to a report
in the China Youth Daily.
Ma began in business when he was 15 years old. In
1988, he went back to his hometown with his bank savings.
He contracted with the village head for 200,000 square
metres of vacant land in the mountains on which to plant
Ma and some colleagues threw themselvessintosthe
project. He also invested all his money and was confident
he would make his fortune because he had so many trees
His troubles started after 1996 when officials began
calling on him saying they needed to examine or supervise
his business operations. For each visit, Ma had to prepare
sumptuous meals with cigarettes, wine and fruit. Over
the years, Ma had to spend hundreds of yuan on each
batch of visitors.
In 1998, he received more than 20 separate groups
Because Ma was unable to pay back his loan to a local
bank, he was taken to court in 2001. Today he still
owes more than 40,000 yuan (US,840) to the bank and
his total debts amount to about 100,000 yuan (US,000).
The director of the county’s Farming Bureau, Ma Yongzhong,
admitted he had brought some officials on visits to
Ma.“But in most cases, I paid for myself,?he said.“I
wouldn’t treat an old farmer unfairly.? The director
also said the bureau had released 35,879 yuan (US,338)
in funds to support Ma during 2001 and 2002.
He said he believed there were many reasons for Ma’s
poverty, including relatives living in his home and
The county Party secretary, Li Xuemin, said initial
investigations showed that some officials did have meals
at Ma’s home.
Li said the county’s Party Commission was launching
an inquirysintosthe whole affair.