Xiang Weiyi: Ru­ral Vi­tal­iza­tion Needs Millennials

Young peo­ple are needed to bring con­tin­u­ous vigor to China’s coun­try­side.

China Pictorial (English) - - CONTENTS - Text by Hu Zhoumeng

At 25, Xiang Weiyi is a mil­len­nial deputy to the 13th Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress (NPC), China’s na­tional leg­is­la­ture. He now works as a vil­lage of­fi­cial in Cili County, Hu­nan Prov­ince. On March 2, 2018, on a bul­let train to Beijing to at­tend the first ses­sion of the 13th NPC, the young man from the Tu­jia eth­nic group en­thu­si­as­ti­cally in­tro­duced sweet potato ver­mi­celli, red rice and tea from his home­town to other pas­sen­gers.

Sur­rounded by forested hills, Xiang­bizui Vil­lage lies in the Wul­ing Moun­tains in Hu­nan Prov­ince. Four years ago, Xiang grad­u­ated from col­lege and was se­lected by the prov­ince to be­come as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of the vil­lage’s Party branch. At that time, most of his peers were opt­ing to take jobs in big cities, but Xiang de­cided it would be cooler to re­turn to the coun­try­side.

Then, the av­er­age age of vil­lage of­fi­cials in Xiang­bizui was more than 40 years old. When vil­lagers first saw the young man, they couldn’t help but won­der: Was the boy plan­ning to show up and then take off? Xiang calmed their sus­pi­cions with ac­tion: He lived and worked to­gether with vil­lagers to har­vest citrus fruits. He helped vil­lagers un­der­stand the new ru­ral en­dow­ment in­sur­ance, and care­fully ex­plained to them about poli­cies and reg­u­la­tions re­lated to the in­sur­ance. When ar­gu­ments oc­curred be­tween vil­lagers, he pa­tiently rec­on­ciled their dis­putes. Grad­u­ally, more and more peo­ple praised him for his pa­tience and hard­work­ing at­ti­tude.

“A sense of ac­com­plish­ment spon­ta­neously over­takes me when I see them grad­u­ally ac­cept­ing me,” Xiang beamed. “It is es­pe­cially heart­warm­ing when vil­lagers in­vite me to their homes for Spring Fes­ti­val.”

Thanks to the vil­lage com­mit­tee’s ef­forts over the past three years, more and more vil­lagers have been lifted out of poverty. In Xiang­bizui Vil­lage, in­hab­ited by a to­tal of 401 house­holds, im­ple­men­ta­tion of poli­cies such as poverty al­le­vi­a­tion through re­lo­ca­tion, accurate pair­ing as­sis­tance and other mea­sures has re­duced poor house­holds from 27 to 7. Xiang is con­fi­dent that the rest will be lifted out of poverty this year.

To en­rich the vil­lagers’ cul­tural lives, the Ex­cel­lent Cul­ture Pro­mo­tion As­so­ci­a­tion

We be­lieve that af­ter im­ple­ment­ing the ru­ral vi­tal­iza­tion strat­egy, our coun­try­side will be­come more beau­ti­ful, and farm­ers’ lives will be­come richer.

of Xiang­bizui Vil­lage was es­tab­lished. It or­ga­nized Party mem­bers’ classes, women’s classes and chil­dren’s tra­di­tional cul­ture classes. It in­vited cal­lig­ra­phers from around the prov­ince to give free cal­lig­ra­phy lec­tures. Dur­ing the Spring Fes­ti­val gala in the vil­lage, chil­dren and the el­derly all re­ceived 200 yuan in red en­velopes from the vil­lage’s earn­ings from sell­ing high-qual­ity agri­cul­tural prod­ucts such as citrus fruits.

Af­ter be­ing elected a NPC deputy, Xiang re­al­ized that he was no longer re­spon­si­ble for just a vil­lage, but grass­roots lev­els na­tion­wide. To live up to the peo­ple’s ex­pec­ta­tions, he vis­ited lo­cal gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and for­mer NPC deputies as well as the vil­lagers to learn their most ur­gent needs.

“To­day, med­i­cal and ed­u­ca­tional is­sues make up most of their needs,” Xiang said. “What con­cerns the peo­ple most is in­creas­ing the coverage and re­im­burse­ment ra­tio for the new ru­ral co­op­er­a­tive med­i­cal care.” At this year’s NPC ses­sion, Xiang pre­sented sug­ges­tions on the ad­just­ment of the amount of in­sur­ance and the pro­por­tion of re­im­burse­ment and ex­pressed hope that rel­e­vant poli­cies ben­e­fit­ing more peo­ple would be passed as soon as pos­si­ble.

Xi Jin­ping, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Com­mu­nist Party of China (CPC) Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, put for­ward the ru­ral vi­tal­iza­tion strat­egy in the re­port de­liv­ered at the 19th CPC Na­tional Congress, which ex­cited Xiang. “We be­lieve that af­ter im­ple­ment­ing the ru­ral vi­tal­iza­tion strat­egy, our coun­try­side will be­come more beau­ti­ful, and farm­ers’ lives will be­come richer.” As a mil­len­nial vil­lage of­fi­cial, Xiang pays spe­cial at­ten­tion to how he can pro­vide qual­i­fied per­son­nel for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the strat­egy. He hopes to re­tain ru­ral per­son­nel by per­fect­ing the su­per­vi­sion and sup­port­ing sys­tem of vil­lage of­fi­cials.

“The coun­try­side des­per­ately needs young peo­ple full of vigor and vi­tal­ity,” Xiang said. “The vi­tal­iza­tion of the coun­try­side re­quires par­tic­i­pa­tion of young peo­ple.”

Xiang Weiyi, a mil­len­nial deputy to the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress who works as a vil­lage of­fi­cial in Cili County, Hu­nan Prov­ince, pays spe­cial at­ten­tion to how he can pro­vide qual­i­fied per­son­nel for the ru­ral vi­tal­iza­tion strat­egy. by Wan Quan

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