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December 4, 2009

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Villagers struggle under caste system

SOME villagers in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are divided into five castes by local government as people in lower levels are given less housing provisions and other benefits.

The hierarchy system is fairly common in Baotou City's villages. Each person's status in the system is hereditary, fueling discrimination complaints, Southern Metropolis Daily reported yesterday.

The system has changed relations between villagers in Yinliuyao Village, an unnamed villager told China National Radio. Young people from a first-class family would never marry someone from a lower level.

People who settled in the village before 1963 are ranked at the top level. They have the right to take 100 percent of housing provisions and this benefit automatically passes on to their offspring. This level comprises the majority of villagers.

As for those who settled in the village after 1963, they are classified into four levels according to when they arrived. These villagers get less land provisions and those at the bottom get nothing.

Village head Yin Jiangang said the rule was set in 1997, and the nearby villages have similar situations.

The Supreme People's Court said in June that the unfair allocation of land compensation is a "type of violence against the minority."


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