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Self service: Zhejiang officials slammed for exclusive farms

  • Fully Lin and Staff Reporter
  • 2011-09-20
  • 10:34 (GMT+8)
Provincial officials have been widely criticized for setting up farms to supply themselves exclusively with high-grade organic produce at a time when the general public are concerned about the safety of the food they eat. (File Photo/CFP)

Provincial officials have been widely criticized for setting up farms to supply themselves exclusively with high-grade organic produce at a time when the general public are concerned about the safety of the food they eat. (File Photo/CFP)

Taiwanese singer and composer Sky Wu's once popular song "Special Love to Your Special" has recently been sarcastically adapted by people in China into an anthem called "Special Agro Products for Special People" to vent their discontent.

They are unhappy because government officials have allegedly been using their authority and influence to establish "special farms" to supply themselves exclusively with produce guaranteed to be free from pollution.

According to a report by the state-run Xinhua News Agency, certain Zhejiang provincial government departments have been operating special farms and supply channels in the province's Suichang county. Such arrangements were made to ensure that all "green" agricultural goods produced on such farms will be transported and sold to the various departments of the provincial government.

The Xinhua report said the provincial agencies supplied with foods from those special farms included the land resource department, water conservancy and agricultural units. Altogether, the Zhejiang provincial government as a whole maintains supply relations with more than 40 high-class eco-farms established in the county, which produce a wide variety of agricultural products including chicken, pork, rice, beef, fish and tea oil.

The report said that the public feel resentment toward the special farm case because it provides fresh evidence that their government officials are using their power to benefit themsleves; corrupt and illegal practices for which they should be investigated.

Fan Bolai, a professor at the College of Public Administration of Zhejiang University, said that by turning what would have been produced for the consumption of the general public into their own special preserve, these officials have clearly violated President Hu Jintao's concept of "governing for the people."

Fan also speculated that since those officials can now enjoy a supply of food guaranteed not to pose health risks, they may tend to put the issue of food safety and inspection, a matter of great concern to the general public, to the back of their minds.

Internet user Chen Wenxiang's mocking post on the website Eastday.com said that on the surface, eating specially supplied non-hazardous food may protect the officials' health, yet as a result they have been left more susceptible to the disease of corruption.

Netizen Xiao Qing commented on another site that the special food case is a typical instance in which government officials exercise their special privileges. Xiao wrote that as early as 1989 both the central committee of the Communist Party and the State Council (cabinet) had revoked a special food supply system, which had provided food products to high-level party members and government officials.

"Now we can see that the special supply system did not entirely disappear. This special supply system is just unreasonable and unacceptable," Xiao protested.

Hua Yang Yang, an internet commentator at a website called South China Sea, said the operating of special supply farms is a self-fattening behavior committed at the expense of the public interest.

A retired government employee in the provincial capital Hangzhou, Zhang Guoguang, commented on the case from another perspective. He said the fact that more government agencies and officials want to get their food from special supply channels is a clear reflection that they themselves lack confidence in the safety of food produced in China.

References

Sky Wu 伍思凯

Special Love for a Special You 特别的爱给特别的你

Special Agro Products for Special People 特別的禮物送給特別的人

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