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Rural Consumption Environment Improving

The overall consumption environment and the protection of consumers' rights in rural China have improved over recent years, according to a survey by China Consumers' Association (CCA), the country's key consumer rights body.

"The overall consumption environment in rural China is getting better and better," said Ding Shihe, assistant secretary-general of CCA, "35.6 percent of the farmers sampled believe their consumer rights have been harmed, sharply down from that of 65.9 percent in 1998."

The survey report on the protection of rural residents' consumer rights shows farmers mainly spend on food, farming materials and education. More than 21 percent of the interviewees said most of their money is spent on education.

"The figures indicate farmers pay more attention to education, but they also reveal that education expenditure became a heavy burden on them," said Ding.

Figures also show product quality, counterfeit goods, and false advertising and high prices are the most serious problems in rural consumption.

Complaints center on high price and low quality of seeds, fertilizer, drugs and pesticide. "It's quite usual that the effects of pesticide are exaggerated," a farmer groused.

"We are shocked that 21 percent of the farmers whose rights have been infringed chose not to do anything about it," said Ding.

The 2007 survey on the protection of rural residents' consumer rights is conducted by CCA and nine provincial consumer societies in Shandong, Jiangsu, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Anhui, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, covering 54 counties and 6,239 rural households.

(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2007)

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