The key issues

Issues to be looked at by committee:

1 Number of hours worked by models

2 Diet and eating habits

3 Drug and alcohol habits

4 The age of models working

5 The industry’s preference for slim models

6 Pastoral care and education available to the models when working

Text 4.12 China’s rural millions left behind

By Rupert Wingfield-Hayes

BBC News, Beijing, Tuesday, 7 March 2006, 13:17 GMT

In Britain people tend to think of the countryside as a rural idyll, a bucolic landscape of green fields and happy folk.

In China, if they can, people try not to think about the countryside at all.

When they do, it is not of a rural idyll, but The key issues a grim, dirty place where people are poor and life is harsh.

In Britain the countryside is somewhere to escape to. In China it is somewhere to escape from.

China’s urban population has a strong tendency to look down on country folk. The word for “farmer” in Chinese has a distinctly pejorative flavour.

“Rural people are of a very low quality” is a phrase you often hear in Beijing.

And rural people are not just treated like second class citizens, they are. Almost everything in the countryside is worse than in the cities, according to popular belief.

People say the The key issues schools are bad, the teachers awful; there are very few doctors, and hardly any clinics or hospitals; local communist party officials are invariably corrupt, and often abuse their power for personal gain.

In the last decade, two things have happened to make the tension between the city and the countryside worse.

Urban shift

One is that the countryside has begun moving to the city. Between 100 and 150 million Chinese peasants have quit their villages and headed to the cities to look for work.

The second is that the city is moving to the countryside. As China’s urban centres boom they The key issues are gobbling up farmland at a voracious rate. A total of 16 million acres (6,475,000 hectares) have gone in the last 20 years.

The tens of millions who have moved to the cities find themselves treated like second class citizens there too. In a system akin to South Africa’s apartheid, people born in rural China find it almost impossible to become full urban residents.

They are denied access to urban housing and to urban schooling for their children. Work is found in factories or on construction sites. Life is a tenuous, hand-to-mouth existence.

Last year the Chinese internet buzzed with The key issues the story of a rural migrant from north-west China sentenced to death for a brutal double murder. The man had stabbed his victims to death during a fight at a construction site. The argument began when he went to claim back-wages. It turned out the man had not been paid for two years.

Land grab

The only security these rural migrants enjoy is their piece of land back in their village.

But that too is now under threat.

In China, agricultural land is owned communally. In theory each village owns the land around it. Each family holds its The key issues bit of land on a long term lease.

Farmland used to be almost worthless. But as China’s cities expand it is now in high demand.

What happened to the village of Yangge, on the edge of Beijing, is typical.

Yangee sits along a picturesque river 25 km north of the city centre. It is just the sort of area in which Beijing’s wealthy new middle class might like to own a spacious suburban villa.

That is exactly what a Beijing property developer thought. He paid several million dollars to acquire the land from the local township The key issues government. The villagers were never consulted, and they saw none of the money. Now, less than 100m from the village, rows of huge new American-style homes are rising out of the fields. A thousand are to be built. The asking price – close to $1m each.

All over China land disputes like this are turning violent.

Last year three people were shot dead by police in southern Guangdong province during a violent protest against another land seizure. Villagers said the number killed was closer to 20.

This week Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao promised to bring prosperity to China The key issues’s countryside. But without fundamental change in the way China works, its 700 million peasant farmers will remain second class citizens.



ANEWS STORY is an article aimed to describe an event that has recently happened (breaking news). Influencing the reader is secondary. Usually there’s no message (the main or important idea that the author is trying to tell the reader about) in such stories.

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The opening paragraph of a news story summarizes its content. It is called the lead and generally contains the most important facts The key issues of the story. The lead answers the questions who, what, when, where, why and how. If it answers all the five W’s and H it is called the classical AP* lead. The modern lead contains the what and the when, abbreviates the who, where and how, and omits the why altogether. Because the modern lead does not try to tell everything at once, some elements must be left until later.

The body of a news story contains details on the information given in the lead. These subordinate facts are arranged in the order of decreasing importance (the inverted pyramid The key issues form). Thus a news story ends with less important information (even if it is more interesting).

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