Wednesday, December 03, 2014

China to send entertainment industry to rural areas so they can 'form a correct view on art'

What is it like to live in rural China? Some in the entertainment industry are about to find out. "China’s media regulator has announced a new program to send artists, filmmakers and television company staff to live in rural areas so that they may 'form a correct view on art,'" Sean Silbert reports for The Los Angeles Times.

The move may sound strange, but rural and urban life in China are worlds apart. Large groups are fleeing impoverished rural areas that lack many basic health care needs for the prospect of better lives in the city, Silbert writes. (China Foto Press: More migrant workers are taking their offspring with them to the cities from the countryside or having children there)

In 2013, about 245 million people—or 18 percent of the entire population—left their hometowns, and 80 percent of them moved from rural to urban areas, Zhuang Pinghui reports for the South China Morning Post. Wang Qian, director of the migrant population division of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, told Pinghui, "The public services that migrant populations are entitled to are different from those who have urban household registrations."

One problem is that some adults are moving from rural areas to urban ones and leaving their children behind, Pinghui writes. The "Development Report on China's Migrant Population 2014," released in November, "found 62.5 per cent of migrant couples took children aged six to 15 with them to the cities last year, 5.2 percentage points more than in 2011."

"More women of child-bearing age also chose to have babies in cities, the report said," Pinghui writes. "More than 57 percent of women stayed in cities during pregnancy, while nearly 60 per cent gave birth in cities, 5.9 percentage points and 7 percentage points higher respectively than in 2011."

"About 95 percent of pregnant migrant women gave birth in a hospital last year, but 40 per cent of pregnancies did not meet the basic requirement of having five checks before birth, and one fifth of newborns and mothers did not have post-natal checks," Pinghui writes. "About 10 per cent of migrant children received some vaccinations, although some had none."

Rural residents have been flocking to the city for years for better opportunities, Oliver Wainwright reports for The Guardian. "Over the last decade, China’s mass exodus of the working population from the countryside to the cities has seen rural areas drained of their lifeblood, leaving impoverished communities of elderly farmers looking after their grandchildren."

"The rural decline has been exacerbated by the government’s frequent and arbitrary acquisition of farmland for development, an alarming trend that has already made China the world’s largest importer of agricultural produce," Wainwright writes. "Where once there rolled rice fields, now identikit armies of tower blocks and strange suburban new towns march, leaving the villages as ghostly cadavers of their former selves."

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said it would have production staff from 10 designated films and TV shows go to 'grassroots" communities, villages and mining sites to experience local life,'" Silbert writes.

"Another provision stated that every year, 100 scriptwriters, directors, broadcasters and TV presenters would be sent to live for at least 30 days in border and ethnic minority regions, as well as areas 'important in China’s revolutionary background,'" Silbert writes. "With the help of this program, artists 'will be able to unearth new subjects, find their market and push forward their masterpieces,' the regulator said."

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