Pres­i­dent: Use traits of vil­lage to pros­per

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By XING WEN in Xiangxi, Hu­nan

A sin­u­ous paved moun­tain road leads to the vil­lage of Shibadong in Xiangxi Tu­ji­aMiao au­ton­o­mous pre­fec­ture, a place that marks Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s first use of the strat­egy of tar­geted poverty alle­vi­a­tion.

Dur­ing Xi’s stop at the vil­lage in Hu­nan prov­ince on Nov 3, 2013, he said ef­fi­cient mea­sures for tar­geted poverty alle­vi­a­tion should be adopted on the ba­sis of the vil­lage’s re­al­ity. The vil­lage then aimed to forge it­self into the “most beau­ti­ful vil­lage in China” by pro­tect­ing its nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment and in­dige­nous cul­ture.

Neat flag­stone path­ways and steps link frame houses in the vil­lage, which has erected eye-catch­ing sign­boards with Miao cul­ture notes in both Man­darin and Miao.

To keep in­dige­nous cul­ture alive, an arts group has been formed with vil­lagers adept at singing Miao songs, play­ing the drum, climb­ing a “lad­der of knives” and other tra­di­tions of the eth­nic group. Yang Chaowen, 44, an arts group mem­ber, said they stage per­for­mances and cer­e­monies.

“We have over 30 vil­lagers in the group. Most of us are ver­sa­tile enough to sing, dance and play the drum. I re­ally en­joy pre­par­ing for the shows, which have en­riched my daily life re­mark­ably.”

Long Shuwu, Party sec­re­tary of the vil­lage, said the shows also have strength­ened co­he­sion, mak­ing many poverty re­duc­tion strate­gies eas­ier to im­ple­ment.

Yang, who used to be in the cloth­ing busi­ness in Zhe­jiang prov­ince, re­turned to his home­town after Xi’s visit to Shibadong. “The top leader of my coun­try cares about my home vil­lage, which gives me strong con­fi­dence to put aside the mi­grant life and reach for a well-off life with my fam­ily.” He and his un­cle are open­ing a farm­house restau­rant, many of which are pop­ping up.

Lo­cals said now more peo­ple are will­ing to work or run a busi­ness in their vil­lage rather than mi­grate to other places, even if they’re young. Shi Jun,19, a clerk at the Xiangxi Chang­hang Vil­lage Bank, said he felt con­tent about his work. He earns 2,000 yuan ($300) a month and still has time to take care of his grand­mother.

The lo­cal post of­fice dis­plays exquisite bags with Miao em­broi­dery pro­duced by a Miao co­op­er­a­tive in the vil­lage and Jin­tian Na­tional Cul­tural Dif­fu­sion Co in Huayuan county, where the vil­lage is lo­cated. It’s eas­ier for lo­cal women to earn money through a com­pany like Jin­tian — any­one who wants to buy one of the bags dis­played at the post of­fice can sim­ply scan a QR code on the counter and use a mo­bile pay­ment ap­pli­ca­tion.

CHEN ZEBING / CHINA DAILY

Shi Shun­lian of Shibadong vil­lage in Hu­nan prov­ince makes Miao em­broi­dery at home. A com­pany helps women mar­ket their tra­di­tional prod­ucts for ex­tra in­come.

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