had been living in a rundown, brick-and-clay house for decades in Dawan
village of Jinzhai county, East China's Anhui province.
Chen's only son died of disease, and his daughter-in-law abandoned the
poverty-stricken family and left without even a goodbye according to the
with an old superstition, Chen changed the direction of the house's
front door, hoping the family's misfortune could be reversed.
But in 2007,
his wife also passed away. Chen altered the door's direction again, but
his struggles continued as he had an annual net income of less than
2,800 yuan ($425).
an important Red Army revolutionary base, is among the country's poorest
counties. Dawan was one of the county's 71 poverty-stricken villages,
as 242 of its 1,032 households, including the Chens', were registered
for poverty alleviation measures in 2014.
In 2015, Yu
Jing was sent to Dawan as the village's first Party secretary for
poverty alleviation. She helped Chen acquire a loan of 8,000 yuan to
build photovoltaic power panels in front of his house.
electricity generated by the device helped the man earn about 3,000 yuan
per year, with half of the income used to repay the loan.
Yu said she
also persuaded Chen to raise goats with another bank loan. The interest
for all the loans was paid by the government, she added.
On April 24,
2016, President Xi Jinping visited five homes in the village, including
the Chens', and listened to ideas and suggestions from the villagers on
poverty alleviation measures. He also sought their views on migration
In that year,
the local government started to build a brand new community in the
village, with dozens of two-floor houses, to resettle the
In May 2017,
Chen moved into his new 70-square-meter house. He got 90,000 yuan in
compensation for giving up his old house to the local government for
Chen said he paid 50,000 yuan for the new house, saving the remainder.
"We also increased plantation of high-quality tea leaves and traditional Chinese medicine herbs," Yu said.
villagers now raise more than 1,600 goats and nearly 1,300 cows, Chen
sold his goats in 2017 and got hired by a local tea production firm
opening in the village.
The man learned how to fry tea leaves and now has a more stable income.
tourists to Dawan village surpassed 300,000, and Chen's annual income
surpassed more than 40,000 yuan for the first time.
was removed from the county's list of poverty-stricken villages in 2018,
when 158 poverty-stricken households were relieved from poverty,
according to the county government.
Similarly, the whole county was removed from the country's list of key counties for poverty alleviation in April.
"The Party and government's favorable policies have offered me a new door, one that leads me out of poverty," Chen said.