Re­mote city wages new war on penury


Jing­gang­shan, or Jing­gang Moun­tains, is known to many as the birth­place of the Chi­nese Red Army — the pre­de­ces­sor of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army — and the “cra­dle of the Chi­nese rev­o­lu­tion”.

Fol­low­ing the Au­tumn Har­vest Up­ris­ing in Hu­nan prov­ince in 1927, Mao Ze­dong led a 1,000-strong army to the re­gion, set­ting up the na­tion’s first soviet govern­ment.

Mao chose Jing­gang­shan as the base for the Red Army be­cause it is part of the Luox­iao Moun­tain Range in a re­mote re­gion that bor­ders Jiangxi and Hu­nan prov­inces. The land­locked area was far from the con­trol cen­ters of the Kuom­intang mil­i­tary forces.

Be­cause of its re­mote lo­ca­tion, the Jing­gang­shan re­gion in the west of Jiangxi prov­ince, has, through­out its history, been largely un­de­vel­oped.

This re­mains a prob­lem today for the lo­cal govern­ment, which has placed poverty alle­vi­a­tion at the top of its list of pri­or­i­ties.

It has iden­ti­fied a num­ber of mea­sures that it hopes will make Jing­gang­shan the first county-level city in Jiangxi to erad­i­cate poverty. Pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials have called for all res­i­dents to be above the poverty line by 2018, ac­cord­ing to Liu Hong, Party chief of the city.

The key to erad­i­cat­ing poverty is to en­sure that ev­ery house­hold has a sta­ble in­come stream through de­vel­op­ing in­dus­tries with lo­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics, ac­cord­ing to Liu.

“We should find a sus­tain­able model for in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment to en­sure that ev­ery fam­ily has its own busi­ness and is able to be­come fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent,” he said.

The Party chief noted that in moun­tain­ous ar­eas such as Jing­gang­shan, the best strat­egy is to de­velop tea and bam­boo plan­ta­tions, as well as fruit or­chards.

The city en­cour­ages the de­vel­op­ment of ru­ral co­op­er­a­tives in its vil­lages and town­ships, which al­lows farm­ers to use their land, fi­nan­cial as­sets and la­bor force as stakes in the co­op­er­a­tives, which en­sure that pro­duc­tion can be bet­ter or­ga­nized and prod­ucts can be more ef­fec­tively sold on the mar­ket.

Jing­gang­shan is work­ing hard to de­velop its tourism in­dus­try, which will of­fer new jobs to lo­cal res­i­dents as it grows.”

Liu Hong,

Party chief of Jing­gang­shan

At present, more than 2,300 house­holds in Jing­gang­shan have joined var­i­ous co­op­er­a­tives, ac­cord­ing to Liu.

The city has es­tab­lished a ven­ture called Huinong­bao In­dus­trial In­vest­ment Corp, which al­lows ex­tremely im­pov­er­ished fam­i­lies to be­come share­hold­ers. Each fam­ily can re­ceive govern­ment fund­ing of up to 10,000 yuan ($1,489) as their stake in the com­pany. To date, more than 1,500 fam­i­lies have joined the com­pany.

“As a renowned rev­o­lu­tion­ary tour des­ti­na­tion, Jing­gang­shan is work­ing hard to de­velop its tourism in­dus­try, which will of­fer new jobs to lo­cal res­i­dents as it grows,” Liu said.

Ac­cord­ing to Luo Chenyuan, deputy chief of the public­ity de­part­ment of Jing­gang­shan city, tourism and re­lated sec­tors such as cater­ing and trans­porta­tion have pro­vided em­ploy­ment to some 40,000 lo­cals, ac­count­ing for 25 per­cent of the city’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion.

The per cap­i­tal in­come of tourism in­dus­try em­ploy­ees reached 24,000 yuan last year, Luo said, adding that the in­dus­try now ac­counts for more than half of lo­cal GDP.

Luo also cited other mea­sures that the city is tak­ing to al­le­vi­ate poverty, such as fund­ing the con­struc­tion of new houses to help fam­i­lies move out of land­locked ar­eas with poor liv­ing con­di­tions and ex­pand­ing its so­cial in­surance sys­tem for health­care, ed­u­ca­tion and pen­sions to en­sure that more res­i­dents are cov­ered.

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