Farmers in one of the poorest counties in a Chinese province built a wall of cash from more than $2 million paid out in year-end bonuses, a report said on Wednesday.
The farmers, members of a co-operative in Liangshan county in the southwestern province of Sichuan, stacked bundles of 100-yuan banknotes into a wall two metres (seven feet) long and half a metre high before handing out the dividends, the semi-official China News Service reported.
The co-operative - 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 in camouflage uniform and stored in the village office under the close watch of seven guards, with three people sleeping on top of it at night.
Chinese villagers wait before a two-metre-long "money wall" built with cash for their year-end bonus at Jianshe village of Lianshan municipality in southwest China's Sichuan province. (AFP Photo)
"We used eight 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," he said. "It was too hard."
Residents of the village contribute to the co-operative in land, cash or other means, and their payouts are proportionate to their input.
It was not immediately clear whether the dividend was unusually high for the organisation but official figures show that China's rural residents' average net income stood at 7,917 yuan in 2012.
The highest shares in Jianshe were around 300,000 yuan, about 38 times as much, 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."