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Party congress reignites passions for rural causes

Pub Date:22-12-20 09:21 Source:China Daily

A villager in Shizhu Tujia autonomous county, Chongqing, checks the condition of baked huanglian, a herb commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. The county has planted medicinal herbs to help local farms generate more income. [Photo/Xinhua]

After watching the opening session of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October, Ma Yuanli decided to apply to become a member of the Party.

"The Party always makes the people's interests the top priority and my family has benefited a lot from its favorable policies for farmers," the 32-year-old restaurant owner from Huaxi village in Chongqing's Shizhu Tujia autonomous county wrote in her application.

"I am young and able, so I wish to become a Party member and contribute to rural vitalization and help more people become better off."

Ma was born into a farming family in a poor village in the deep mountains of southwestern China. In 2014, about a fifth of the villagers struggled beneath the poverty line and Ma said that since childhood, there had never been enough to eat. Because her father was sick, her mother had to find work in big cities in order to make ends meet at home.

After graduating from junior high school in 2008, like many other young people in rural China, Ma wanted to make money as soon as possible and went in search of factory work in affluent coastal provinces like Jiangsu and Guangdong.

But with few skills and inadequate education, she was only able to find low-paid jobs. To save money, she would only return home during Spring Festival. In 2011, she gave birth to a boy but had to leave him at home with her mother.

"I missed my son so much," she said. "I dreamed of having a job near home so I could look after my parents and child."

Her wish came true after the central government pledged to adopt more policies to help lift its remaining 70 million poor above the poverty line by 2020.

President Xi Jinping visited villagers in Huaxi on April 15,2019 to learn about progress in poverty relief and to solve prominent issues in the Shizhu Tujia autonomous county during an inspection tour to Chongqing.

He told the villagers in Huaxi that happiness was achieved through hard work and that people in poverty-stricken regions should make full use of the Party's policies and work hard for a better life.

Encouraged by Xi's words and the government's favorable poverty alleviation policies, many young people began to return to Huaxi village.

Ma and her husband came home in 2020 and decided to open a restaurant as tourists began to flock to the village following Xi's visit.

She secured an interest-free loan of 50,000 yuan ($7,200) from a bank, refurbished her house and received free training organized by the local government.

"Finally our family can be together," she said. "My husband cooks, my mother and I serve tables."

The restaurant is called You Yi Jia, which means "one family".Business was good and the family earned about 90,000 yuan that first year, more than they could have made as migrant workers.

Through rural tourism, planting Chinese herbs and beekeeping, the per capita net income in Huaxi increased from 4,697 yuan in 2014 to 17,075 yuan in 2021.

The village has also been beautified and upgraded with paved roads, newly built schools, a community center, plaza and even a museum featuring Chinese beekeeping and honey making.

Ma is learning to promote local products, such as noodles and organic honey, on social media platforms.

"I hope more people can learn about our hometown and its products via livestream," she said.

"I want to help other villagers get rich."


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