High-speed rail helps S China's Guangxi fight poverty
A high-speed train passes through Chinese redbuds in south China's Guangxi Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. [Photo/Chen Quanren]
The high-speed rail network has become a powerful engine in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region fight against poverty, improving transportation conditions, driving industrial development and generating indigenous driving forces.
Since 2013, the high-speed rail mileage in Guangxi has gone from zero to 1,792 kilometers, with the region now boasting an extensive high-speed rail network.
Poor transportation in the mountainous areas of Du'an Yao autonomous county previously impeded its efforts to shake off poverty.
However, construction of the Guiyang-Nanning high-speed railway, including a 72-kilometer section in Du'an, will bring new development opportunities to the county.
"The planned Du'an high-speed railway station is only 7 kilometers away from our factory," said Lan Zhenwen, manager of Du'an Xiangyun Electronic Technology Co., Ltd., which is located at Baxian industrial park.
The company produces electronic products, such as earphones, and previously delivered its products using trucks. Using this kind of transportation usually meant that it could only deliver its products to the Pearl River Delta region in south China's Guangdong province, as it is close to Guangxi, as using trucks to transport goods for long distances would affect the quality of electronic products.
According to Lan, the high-speed railway will cut travel time to the Pearl River Delta region from 24 hours to 8 hours, and to under 10 hours to other major Chinese cities. That will greatly speed up freight turnover and ensure that product quality is maintained during the transportation process.
The high-speed rail will also bring new business opportunities. Previously, some customers had decided not to work with Baxian industrial park due to its poor transportation. "If the high-speed railway opens, it will be easier for us to attract new customers," Lan noted.
This year, Lan's company will increase its investment by more than 10 million yuan to expand production scale, which is expected to create 300 more jobs and provide employment for more relocated people.
On May 15, 2016, a bullet train departed from Sanjiang South Railway Station in Guangxi's Sanjiang Dong autonomous county for Guangzhou, making it the first county to have bullet train services among China's minority autonomous counties and national poor counties.
Over the past few years, Yao Shihu's life has seen dramatic changes. Yao is a poor resident in Cendong village of Sanjiang's Fulu township. He used to work as a lumberjack outside his hometown and didn't earn much, which meant his family lived from hand to mouth. After the Sanjiang South Railway Station opened, he took high-speed trains to Guangzhou, where he earned a monthly salary of more than 4,000 yuan. He was finally able to shake off poverty in 2018.
"The high-speed railway cut travel time from Sanjiang to Guangzhou from at least one day to five hours. It's so convenient. I can earn money and take care of my family at the same time," Yao said.
At the beginning of last year, Yao returned to the village to run a poultry farm. This year, he reached a cooperation agreement with a restaurant in the township, which is expected to bring him an annual income of more than 70,000 yuan.
Like Yao, several impoverished villagers first worked outside their hometown and then returned to help other residents get rich, according to Wang Xun, first secretary for poverty alleviation in Cendong.
High-speed railways in Guangxi also contribute to poverty alleviation through the development of tourism. The autonomous region has established "trackless" high-speed rail stations in 16 counties to provide locals with express bus services to the nearest high-speed rail stations, with 240,000 buses bringing about 2.2 million tourists.
The integrated "express bus + high-speed rail" network has helped promote sales of 70,000 parcels of various agricultural products and goods ordered via e-commerce platforms.
In addition, construction of the Guiyang-Nanning high-speed railway has given new impetus to the poverty alleviation efforts and economic development of local spots along the railway.
Huanjiang Maonan autonomous county broke ground on the construction of the railway's Guangxi section in 2017.
"We established a poverty alleviation team to build roads for the railway, which also makes travel and delivery of materials more convenient for the local people," said Zheng Fazhu, manager of the railway's Guangxi section of China Railway 18th Bureau Group Co., Ltd.
The project department has built about 30 such roads linking over 30 townships and villages together, contributing to the development of featured industries.
Dongshan village in the county's Chuanshan township is one of the places to have benefited from the project. This year, the village built a poverty alleviation industrial park on a plantation of more than 8 hectares of moso bamboos and edible canna.
Due to the construction of roads for high-speed railway, this previously uncultivated land has now become highly sought after, said Lu Guohua, Party chief of the village, adding that the plants will increase villagers' incomes.
So far, construction companies in Huanjiang have hired 857 local residents to help build the railway, paying total salaries of about 4.76 million yuan, and trained 2,274 local people and migrant workers.
Employees work at the poverty alleviation workshop of Xiangyun Electronic Technology Co., Ltd., in Du'an Yao autonomous county, south China's Guangxi Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. [Photo/Zhu Xiaoling]
Photo shows Yao Shihui at his poultry farm. [Photo/Feng Denghai]
Photo shows the Sanjiang South Railway Station in Sanjiang Dong autonomous county, south China's Guangxi Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. [Photo/ Qin Yuanqi]
High-speed train attendants celebrate the opening of a "trackless" high-speed rail station that provides locals with express bus services to the nearest high-speed rail stations in Dalang township, Rongshui Miao autonomous county, south China's Guangxi Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. [Photo/Lan Kemeng]
Photo shows the Huanjiang section, currently under construction, of the Guiyang-Nanning high-speed railway in Huanjiang Maonan autonomous county, south China's Guangxi Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. [Photo/ Zhu Xiaoling]