Xi’s di­rec­tive changes life in im­pov­er­ished val­ley ham­let

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By XING WEN in Linxia, Gansu xing­wen@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Hid­den in a val­ley of the arid moun­tains be­tween the Loess Plateau and the Qing­hai-Ti­betan Plateau in Northwest China, the vil­lage of Bu­leng­gou was once a re­mote place with no paved road to the out­side world.

Dif­fi­cult ge­og­ra­phy and the area’s harsh en­vi­ron­ment meant the vil­lage, in Dongx­i­ang au­ton­o­mous county of Linxia, Gansu prov­ince, was plagued by wa­ter short­ages, ram­shackle houses, poor ed­u­ca­tion, low in­comes and other se­vere prob­lems.

But things have changed since Xi Jin­ping, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China, made a stop at the vil­lage dur­ing his in­spec­tion visit in Gansu on Feb 3, 2013. Xi said great ef­forts should be made to help the vil­lagers lead a well-off life by en­sur­ing the wa­ter sup­ply, build­ing roads and sup­ply­ing free, bet­ter qual­ity hous­ing.

Ma Maizhi, 50, a lo­cal farmer who once lived in a house made of mud and straw, has moved into a bun­ga­low in a new hous­ing com­plex. He said he moved in 2014 and took a new job as a cleaner for his com­mu­nity that earns him 6,000 yuan ($902) an­nu­ally.

He will have ex­tra in­come this year be­cause a new gridlinked pho­to­voltaic sys­tem means house­holds with so­lar

“Mak­ing hand­i­crafts at home helps the women strike a balance be­tween earn­ing money and tak­ing care of their fam­i­lies. In such a re­mote place, men are widely rec­og­nized as the fam­ily bread­win­ners. How­ever, we want to en­cour­age th­ese women to be eco­nom­i­cally in­de­pen­dent and build up their con­fi­dence,” said Wang Xiaomei, deputy di­rec­tor of the Work­ing Com­mit­tee for Women and Chil­dren of Dongx­i­ang county.

Ma Cuimei, 21, has earned 1,200 yuan since she started mak­ing hand­i­crafts and re­cently has be­come a teacher in the train­ing cen­ter. She said she used to be a vic­tim of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence by her ex-hus­band, on whom she de­pended eco­nom­i­cally, but she now is self-re­liant.

An­i­mal hus­bandry, a tra­di­tional source of in­come, has been boosted by the Runze Breed­ing Co, in which some vil­lagers own shares.

Com­pany owner Ma Dawude re­turned to his home­town at the end of 2015 and in­vested 2.6 mil­lion yuan to open the com­pany. Lo­cal gov­ern­ment helped him get a 2 mil­lion yuan loan and sug­gested he run things as a co­op­er­a­tive. “I had been run­ning a breed­ing busi­ness out­side my home­town for 16 years. After Pres­i­dent Xi vis­ited Bu­leng­gou vil­lage, I was so sur­prised by the changes I de­cided to pur­sue a well-off life along with my fel­low vil­lagers,” he said.

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