2008: 100 Million Peasant Debit Cards: The Golden Grain Benevolence Card


One hundred million Chinese peasants will receive the Golden Grain Benevolence Peasant Card 金穗惠农卡 by 2010 so that they can receive directly receive subsidies from the Chinese central government.

There is always lots of leakage in government subsidies to the peasants as funds are diverted for this or that local project that could make an official look good.  Peasant debit cards can help reduce diversion of funds and that seems to be one of the main reasons why the cards are being distributed.

In many places I have gone in my travels this year I have seen efforts to increase openness apparently as a way to make official corruption more difficult.  Other things I Deqin County Worker's Union -- Names of Workers Receiving Assistancehave been seeing in my travels this year, like the posting of the names of welfare (minimum income supplement) recipients in Deqin, Yunnan on a bulletin board notice from the Deqin County, Yunnan Worker’s Union — “Names of Workers Receiving Assistance” (above) and the listing in the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture party newspaper the Diqing Ribao, the license plates of all the buses, taxis and trucks in Deqin County that are getting a fuel subsidy, and even the listing of all patients who got health insurance payments at a hospital outside Ruili, Yunnan including operation, medical problem, name and national ID card number, are part of this. In the U.S., we would this as a big invasion of privacy, but in China this is an anti-corruption measure. Transparency as an anti-corruption strategy, apparently.

A Golden Grain Benevolence Card reference appeared in an article about Lijiang Vice Mayor Wang Zhi 王志 and his sense of humor. When Wang Zhi was giving a talk later, he was asked about China’s san nong 三农  (peasants, farmland, agriculture) policy how to help the farmers, he said “Give’em all credit/debit cards and send ‘em cash.”   He added, “I don’t think the peasants can use this card.  I myself am afraid of using it. I worry that I’ll lose all my money if I go online with this card!!!” (“这功能我想农民朋友都不会用,我也不敢用,我怕在网上把钱丢了。)

In April 2008, Xiang Junbo, the director of the China Agricultural Bank said that according to the national plan of the Bank, it will gradually expand use of the the Golden Grain Benevolence Peasant Card. One hundred million peasant household will directly benefit from it by 2010. 中国农业银行行长项俊波说,农行将在全国有计划、有步骤地推广金穗惠农卡,到2010年全国将有1亿多农户直接受益。

About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated,with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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