Chinese communes may lose political powers

The Chinese government may strip rural communes of their political function and turn them into essentially economic units, an official magazine said.

The report said the current system of combining government administration with economic management was ''contradictory,'' and that it often led to concentration of power in the hands of a few people. The commune system was established by the late Chairman Mao Tsetung in 1958.

China's 800 million peasants are now grouped into 54,000 communes or clusters of villages which until now have served as the next administrative level below the county.

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