It’s easy to love the Shiye is­land life­style

China Daily (USA) - - 19th CPC NATIONAL CONGRESS - Cang Wei

Though the in­ter­views at Shiye lasted just one day, my im­pres­sion about its res­i­dents and en­vi­ron­ment lasted longer.

To be hon­est, as a woman grow­ing up in cities, I didn’t mind vis­it­ing such a peaceful and beau­ti­ful is­land.

The feel­ing of the hu­mid wind com­ing from the Yangtze River touch­ing my cheeks, the cluck­ing hens that lay eggs in straw piles and the sweet aro­mas of fruits on trees seemed fresh and felt good. The yards where they grow of flow­ers are ex­tremely at­trac­tive.

The res­i­dents dress like mil­lions of farm­ers in other ru­ral ar­eas of China. They don’t have too much money, but they don’t have to have too much. They greet strangers with smiles and live peaceful lives on the small is­land.

Wei Dingyu, the first farmer I met on the is­land, said that the ex­emp­tion of med­i­cal ex­penses has greatly re­lieved his bur­den. Wei, whose hair has grayed over the years, lives on the sub­sis­tence al­lowance given by the gov­ern­ment.

“Like many se­niors, I have some dis­eases and have to go to hos­pi­tals fre­quently. I’m the man to blame for that, be­cause I didn’t ex­er­cise much when I was young. But in those years, I had to spend al­most all my time in the fields to be the fam­ily’s bread-earner.”

Wei said he now has the cell num­bers of doc­tors he can con­sult with, but he tries not to call when they get off work. He also can see doc­tors from down­town hos­pi­tals that visit the health cen­ter every week.

Each chronic dis­ease pa­tient in the town­ship has his or her ap­pointed doc­tor. The doc­tors teach pa­tients how to mon­i­tor blood pres­sure and blood sugar at home and to record the data in the re­mote mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem.

Wei said his grand­son, with whom he lives, has been ad­mit­ted to col­lege and that life will be eas­ier and hap­pier for him in the fu­ture.

“An­other ad­van­tage to liv­ing in vil­lages is that neigh­bors will help you as much as they can. It’s good to live here.”

The house of Hong Ji­ay­ong, sur­rounded by green trees and bor­der­ing a clean river, is the dream home for many peo­ple. He showed me and my col­leagues around and im­pressed us with the beauty of his house and his smile.

He kept an al­bum in­side that holds pho­tos of Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping with his fam­ily mem­bers.

Hong said the pres­i­dent asked about their daily lives and he added that Xi knows about their lives and cares about them.

“Our lives here are peaceful, and peaceful is good,” he said.

He said the is­land is plan­ning to grow more types of mel­ons, fruits and flow­ers to de­velop tourism. Maybe in the near fu­ture, vis­i­tors can en­joy the is­land as the lo­cals do, even just for a while.

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