Tuesday, October 21, 2008

OK Peasants, here's your reform

[Warning: this is not a real document--this is satire.]
An open letter from Comrade Hu Jintao, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to the 750 million comrades in the countryside

Dear Comrades:

In the spirit of the 17th Party Congress, following Marxism-Leninism, based on Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, and the Three Representatives, the glorious Motherland has taken a new step forward in rural reforms.

I know I may have gotten your hopes up in advance of our big party plenum this month by making a symbolic visit to Xiaogang Village in Anhui and suggesting that we might let you own the land you toil on year-in and year-out. Many of you have been clamoring for ownership of your land. Some even took the capitalist road by asserting that you owned land that in fact belongs to the people of our great motherland.

Comrades, please understand that it is not reasonable for you to own your land. If we did that, you would be vulnerable to cut-throat capitalists who would force you to sell your land for a pittance, leaving you penniless (fen-less). I think we all know that this is the government’s job. The right to make a killing on rural land sales is the exclusive right of government officials. No one else gets a piece of this action.

Moreover, if you blindly sold off your land we are afraid you might form bands of hooligans roaming around the country causing trouble, or you might build slums that would turn our gleaming Beijing and Shanghai into stinking holes like Manila or Calcutta. When you come into our beautiful cities to risk your life building our skyscrapers, please stay in the comfortable temporary dormitories we have built for you behind fences on the construction sites, and go home when you’re finished. Please stay out of the city when we have special events like the Olympic Games.

You still can’t sell your land and get rich like your city cousins do, but we have decided that you will be able to trade “land use rights.” A land use right is a thing that some intellectual thought of. It’s sort of like a derivative. No one knows what it is but you can trade it. We even started a special experimental exchange in Chengdu to trade them. This will no doubt be another success like our stock market and futures market in which prices have absolutely nothing to do with the fundamentals of supply and demand. At least it provides an outlet for the Chinese gambling instinct that's closer than Macau or Las Vegas.

Your land can’t be taken away from you. So you will be able to take out a mortgage secured with your land use right without having to worry that the bank will come and foreclose on you. Some capitalists have asked, “Why would a bank secure a loan with land use rights to land they can’t take ownership of?” They obviously do not understand China. The bank will lend money to you because we told them to. If the bank wants to build a shopping mall on Liberation Road, it will have to go out and start a “village bank” that gives away free money to peasants.

See how great the communist system is?

Best regards,
Comrade Hu Jintao

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