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Chinese farmers build $2 million wall of money

AFP-JIJI

Farmers in one of the poorest counties in a Chinese province have built a wall of cash from more than $2 million paid out in yearend bonuses, according to a report.

The farmers, members of a cooperative in Liangshan County in Sichuan province, stacked bundles of 100 yuan bank notes into a wall before handing out the dividends, the semiofficial China News Service reported Wednesday.

The cooperative — which runs vegetable fields, fruit farms and an investment arm — paid out more than 13.1 million yuan ($2.2 million) to about 340 families, said the agency.

The cash was brought to the farmers in Jianshe by militiamen dressed in camouflage and stored in the village office under the close watch of seven guards, with three people sleeping on top of it at night.

“We used 8 million yuan as a mattress and 4.2 million yuan for pillows,” said Jin Hongzhong, one of the guards, adding they were so nervous that they stayed awake all night. “It was not comfortable sleeping on top of so much money — it was too hard.”

Residents of the village contribute to the cooperative with land, cash or by other means, and their payouts are proportionate to their input.

It was not immediately clear whether the dividend was unusually high for the organization, but official figures show that the average net income of China’s rural residents stood at 7,917 yuan in 2012.

The highest shares in Jianshe were around 300,000 yuan, or about 38 times higher, the report said.

One of them went to the family of Jin Ou, who was quoted as saying: “I’ve been counting for so long and my hands are sore, but still I’m not sure whether the number of notes is correct.”