WORLD : China Orders Peasant Exodus Halt

<i> From Times wire services </i>

China today ordered a halt to the movement of hundreds of thousands of peasants who have flooded into major cities over the last month in search of work.

The State Council said the mass exodus from the countryside had turned law and order efforts to chaos in the cities. It instructed local authorities to “persuade” the peasants to leave the cities and go home, but did not specify how this was to be achieved.

It also ordered local authorities to prevent more peasants leaving their homes and told railways and road transport companies to reduce services in the areas worst hit by the exodus.