In Shaanxi, Li listens, offers hope to villagers in downtrodden area
Walking along a dirt road, Premier Li Keqiang first saw ragged houses buried in a mountain valley, where corn leaves swayed in a breeze on a hot Monday as he visited Dawanhe village.
After a 90 - minute drive from downtown Baoji in southwestern Shaanxi province, Li reached the village, which has been known for its deprived economic status, with about 31 percent of its residents living below the poverty line last year.
Houses were built on a terrace- shaped mountainside to accommodate as many people as possible in such a confined valley. Most houses were made of dirt and have been standing for decades. Dogs and chickens alert residents when strangers arrive.
The premier stepped into the homes of two families, inquiring about details of their incomes, children’s education and social security system for the elderly.
He first went to the household of Cai Cunrang, 32, and her husband and children.
Cai said her family relies on her husband as others are either too young or too old. She has to take care of two of her daughters when they go
I hope you will find good jobs after moving to new homes in the town and lead a pleasant life.” Premier Li Keqiang
to school in the township seat, about 19 km from the small village. Her husband’s parents are both deaf and cannot assist.
She said the 20,000 yuan ($ 2,940) her husband earned last year didn’ t meet their expenditures, and corn grown on the barren land was not enough to ease their financial burden.
Cai’s neighbor C hen Futian, 46, said the backward infrastructure and lack of education had hindered the village’ s development. The mobile phone signal was so unstable that C hen had to motorcycle 5 km to get a phone call. “Not to mention selling produce online. Most village rs are uneducated and unaware of how to use social media such as