Of­fi­cial em­braces poverty re­lief in re­mote com­mu­nity

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

HE­FEI — When 54-year-old of­fi­cial Li Chuanxi first told his wife last year that he had vol­un­teered to be­come a poverty re­lief worker in a re­mote ru­ral vil­lage, she an­swered ca­su­ally with­out tak­ing her eyes off the TV.

The next day, learn­ing that Li re­ally meant it, she lost her tem­per.

“My friends said that I must be in­sane,” Li said. “You are no longer young and you’ve got all you want, they told me. Why go to this trouble?”

Their doubts made sense. For Li, a city-level of­fi­cial who once had a com­fort­able of­fice in the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal of He­fei, An­hui prov­ince, the shift to an im­pov­er­ished vil­lage seemed a de­mo­tion.

“I just wanted to fig­ure out my­self what ex­actly was the crux of the mat­ter in China’s fight against poverty,” Li said.

In April last year, Li led a three-mem­ber poverty re­lief team and ar­rived at Sige, a moun­tain­ous vil­lage more than 200 kilo­me­ters from Li’s home in He­fei. The vil­lage is lo­cated in Wangjiang county, which is rec­og­nized as be­ing in “dire poverty”.

The first thing they did in the vil­lage was visit ev­ery house­hold to find out the spe­cific rea­sons for their poverty.

“Dur­ing one visit, we saw a vil­lager al­most dy­ing of ill­ness and hunger in his home,” said Zhou Qing, Li’s col­league in the An­hui Pro­vin­cial Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China and a mem­ber of the anti-poverty team.

“How­ever, we also found some peo­ple who sim­ply wanted to keep the ‘poverty’ la­bel, be­cause they be­lieved that re­ceiv­ing reg­u­lar gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies im­plied a sound con­nec­tion with the gov­ern­ment.”

In each case, Li ap­proached the poverty re­duc­tion poli­cies with great pa­tience, Zhou said.

Li used hard work and his pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence to aid ru­ral de­vel­op­ment in the vil­lage. He en­cour­aged vil­lagers to plant wal­nuts and pitayas, a cac­tus species na­tive to the Amer­i­cas, and to par­tic­i­pate in the vil­lage’s pho­to­voltaic power project to in­crease in­comes.

Also, while in­spect­ing ev­ery cor­ner of the vil­lage, Li found a piece of waste­land lo­cated across from a main traf­fic artery. A bill­board was later set up on the land, bring­ing an ad­di­tional 50,000 yuan ($7,900) of ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue an­nu­ally to the vil­lage.

He called on more than 60 CPC mem­bers in the vil­lage to take the lead in shak­ing off poverty and help­ing oth­ers. Two months af­ter Li’s ar­rival, he held a CPC meet­ing in which he asked each Party mem­ber in the vil­lage to talk about their orig­i­nal as­pi­ra­tions when they joined the Party.

“To my sur­prise, their an­swers were very sim­ple and sin­cere. Some said they joined the Party just out of the will to work a lit­tle longer, carry a lit­tle heav­ier and con­trib­ute a lit­tle more to the vil­lage than oth­ers,” Li said. “I was deeply touched.”

There­after, Li took the op­por­tu­ni­ties present by the ac­tiv­i­ties of the vil­lage CPC or­ga­ni­za­tion to com­mu­ni­cate the spirit of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee’s ma­jor doc­u­ments, de­ci­sions and poli­cies re­gard­ing poverty al­le­vi­a­tion and the ru­ral re­vi­tal­iza­tion strat­egy.

He also stressed the im­por­tance of Party build­ing and warned CPC mem­bers to ob­serve the Party’s code of con­duct and op­pose cor­rup­tion.

He called on CPC mem­bers to put a small plaque on the gates of their homes to show their CPC mem­ber­ship so that the pub­lic would know that CPC mem­bers will al­ways be the ones they can turn to when fac­ing prob­lems.

Thanks to Li’s work, a to­tal of 167 house­holds were lifted out of poverty last year at Sige, and there are no more than 20 left.

XU LIANG / XIN­HUA

Li Chuanxi (left) vis­its res­i­dent Zhu Cheng­meng in Wangjiang county’s Sige vil­lage in An­hui prov­ince ear­lier this month.

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