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Old revolutionary base revives amid China's poverty alleviation efforts

Pub Date:2021-02-09 14:49 Source:China.org.cn

Jinzhai county was once an important Red Army revolutionary base in eastern China's Anhui province. It used to be among the country's most impoverished counties, and Dawan village was one of the county's 71 poverty-stricken villages. Dawan has a population of 3,348, and 554 of them were registered as poor at the end of 2014.

 
Aerial photo taken on May 18, 2019, shows residential dwellings at Dawan village of Jinzhai county, eastern China's Anhui province. [Photo/Xinhua]

After years of struggle, Dawan village has lifted itself out of poverty. The local government has taken a series of measures, including resettling villagers, expanding health benefits, developing the tea industry and rural tourism to tackle poverty and improve rural residents' livelihoods.

Migration and resettlement 

Before 2016, 207 households in Dawan village had been living in rundown, brick-and-clay houses, and 18 of them lived in houses that were 100 years old. To live in new houses has been a lifelong dream for them. 

By the latter half of 2019, four resettlement sites had been built in Dawan village, accommodating 201 residents from 62 impoverished households. Chen Zeping was among the first to move to the newly built community that has a better transportation infrastructure and apartments mostly paid for by the government.

Living in the brand new communities with improved environment and public services, Chen and his fellow villagers got rid of their heaviest burdens and become more confident in building up the village.

 
The residential dwellings at Dawan village in April 2016 (above) have turned into a settlement for poverty relief relocation in May 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Health plan 

Tucked away in remote mountainous areas, Dawan village did not have easy access to medical resources. Disease and disability often caused poverty in the village. In 2014, people who fell into poverty due to illnesses accounted for 71% of the total poor population in the village.

Zhou Xiufeng's family is one of the households driven into poverty by medical crises. Her father died of stomach cancer, her mother has high blood pressure, and her daughter has been suffering from chronic osteomyelitis for years.

 
A farmer picks tea leaves at an ecological tea garden in Dawan village on May 18, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

To ease the burden of healthcare expenses for impoverished residents, Jinzhai Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine has entered a pairing-up program to provide Dawan residents with healthcare assistance. Health professionals conducts regular home visits to treat patients and ensure that healthcare services are accessible to low-income families.

"In the past, I was like shouldering all the burdens only by myself, and now they help me to reduce 70% to 80% of that," Zhou said. "I feel relieved."

The new healthcare system comprises basic health insurance, serious illness insurance, and medical assistance, and it covers all the villagers living in poverty. Under the system, people living in poor households have only to pay a maximum of 10,000 yuan each year for medical costs. 

A promise

In 2015, Yu Jing was sent to Dawan to be the team leader on poverty alleviation. She recalled that the poverty rate of the village was as high as 28% at that time. It dropped to 7% in 2018.

Upon arriving in Dawan, Yu realized that resettlement alone was not enough to keep poverty alleviation sustainable, and a long-term poverty alleviation mechanism with a focus on industrial development must be set up.

In the past few years, Yu and her team took several measures of targeted poverty alleviation, including developing the tea business, rural tourism, photovoltaic power generation, and raising poultry, in order to provide more job opportunities and income sources for villagers.

Dawan now has about 200 hectares of tea plantations, and its Lu'an tea is one of China's famous tea brands. In the first nine months of 2020, Dawan's 42 homestays and specialty stores received about 200,000 tourists. The per capita disposable income in Dawan doubled from 2014 to 2019, reaching 14,236 yuan (US$2,205).

"I feel that people are happier, and everyone realizes the changes in their life brought by the Party's policies," Yu said. 

Yu once made a promise that she would not withdraw from her post until all the families in the village were lifted out of extreme poverty. 

"I said this, and I will do this." said Yu.


Editor:Rita

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