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Good Days in Huawu Village

By ​ Li Kun and Cai Chunling Source: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2022-05-12

On February 3, 2021, the eve of Chinese New Year, President Xi Jinping visited Huawu Village, Qianxi City, during a tour of Guizhou Province. He called on village residents to consolidate the achievements of poverty elimination and continue working to promote rural revitalization, develop local industry, and build a beautiful countryside. Keeping these instructions in mind, officials and village residents have worked hard and strived to build a better life with their own hands. As a result of their efforts, a beautiful tableau of rural revitalization has taken shape in this Miao village. 

The lives of residents have grown more prosperous. 

Recalling the afternoon of February 3, 2021, when President Xi visited his family, Zhao Yuxue cannot hide his excitement. "The President came to our home, wrapped yellow rice cakes with us, and asked us about our living conditions. He was concerned about us, and hoped we could enjoy a more beautiful life." 

Zhao's family used to live in Mawozhai, which didn't have any running water, electricity or paved roads. Thanks to the policy of relocating people from inhospitable areas, the family now live in a small two-story house with access to water, electricity and paved roads. President Xi's visit has helped inspire the family to strive toward a more beautiful life. No longer going out to find work, Zhao decided to start a business in the village. In 2021, he opened a farm stay business and registered "Zhao Yuxue's Yellow Rice Cakes" as a trademark for his products. He earns annual revenue of close to 200,000 yuan from selling the cakes wrapped in bamboo leaves. "This year, I plan to expand the cake production," said Zhao. "I hope the President will return to Huawu Village to see how our lives are improving." 

"In the 1980s, the area of farmland per person in Huawu Village was small. Food shortages were a regular occurrence, and many people had to borrow food from others to sustain themselves. If they really had nothing to eat, they lived off wild fruits from the mountains." Yang Guofeng, a member of the poverty alleviation team stationed in the village and originally a native of Huawu Village, speaks about the past with deep emotion. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the village has seen huge changes thanks to a series of targeted poverty alleviation policies. In 2017, 34 Miao households with 154 members moved out of their dilapidated houses, which lacked running water, electricity, and convenient transportation. Yang Guofeng explained, "After the villagers moved to the resettlement site, some of them left to find work in the city, some found employment with the village cooperative, and others engaged in planting and breeding, tourism services, embroidery, and batik. In 2021, the village per capita disposable income reached 19,304 yuan."


A resettlement area in Huawu Village. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, life in Huawu Village has improved greatly thanks to a host of targeted poverty alleviation measures. GUIZHOU DAILY / PHOTO BY SHI KAIXIN 

The changes in Huawu Village are a vivid portrayal of China's policy of leaving no one behind on the path to moderate prosperity. 

The fine finger skills of residents have also spurred economic development. 

The Miao embroidery store in Huawu Village stocks a wide range of beautiful handmade Miao embroidered clothes and special trinkets, while workers are busy filling orders in the embroidery workshop. A special technique passed down by the Miao people, Miao embroidery has a reputation for exquisite workmanship, intricate design, beautiful composition, a rich ethnic style and vibrant color. It has been described as "exclusive high-end fashion" from the deep mountains. 

While visiting Huawu Village, President Xi Jinping gave encouragement to everyone when he explained that Miao embroidery was both traditional and fashionable, both a cultural treasure and an industry. It could not only promote traditional culture, he said, but also rural revitalization, and traditional ethnic culture like Miao embroidery must be kept alive and well developed. 

Yang Wenli, who oversees the Miao embroidery workshop in Huawu Village, engraved the advice of President Xi in her mind. In 2021, Yang set up a batik embroidery company, which has so far provided stable employment for more than 20 Miao women and allowed more than 70 embroiderers to work at home part-time. In the company's first year, it made sales totaling more than 4 million yuan. 

"There are four in my family. Previously, I stayed at home with the children and didn't have any income. Now, I have a job in the workshop, earning about 3,000 yuan a month, so life is improving all the time," said Zhang Ying, a villager employed in the Miao embroidery workshop. 

To realize rural revitalization, it is crucial to also vitalize local industries. Whereas farming was once the mainstay in Huawu Village, farm stays and home stays are now springing up in the local area, and special industries such as Miao embroidery and yellow rice cake production are developing gradually. 

The natural environment is also helping meet local people's needs. 

On the Wujiang River in Huawu Village, you will find a tranquil scene as tour boats shuttle across the river and waterbirds dance nearby, the sounds of the water, chirping birds, and laughing tourists all blending into one. 

During his tour of Guizhou, President Xi visited the pier at Huawu, and walked along the riverbank to survey the environment and the quality of the river water. He stressed the need to firmly uphold the idea that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, to hold fast to the requirements for development and ecological conservation, and to pursue a new path of prioritizing the environment and promoting green development. 

"In the past, net-pen aquaculture and fishing caused the Liuchong section of the Wujiang River to become seriously polluted," explained Xu Lei, secretary of the CPC branch of Huawu Village. "The Wujiang became a dirty river." In 2018, the Wujiang River was completely closed to fishing. Thanks to rigorous pollution control, a clear current now flows eastward once again, and water quality in the Huawu area of the Liuchong River has reached Grade I standard. 

When You Rongli noticed that Huawu's scenery was attracting a continuous stream of tourists, he spotted a business opportunity. In 2018, the three brothers of the You family set up a company to operate two tour boats. "At the peak, I was running five tours a day, getting almost no rest," said You Rongli. He explained that the two boats brought in more than 300,000 yuan in income last year. While they were operating the tour boats, the three brothers also spied a gap in the catering market. In 2021, just before the National Day, the brothers did some simple redecorating on the family home and opened a restaurant on a trial basis. The results were encouraging. This year, they intend to further improve and specialize their catering business, in a bid to help build up their hometown's reputation for tourism. 

As the saying goes, if we do not fail nature, nature shall never fail us. Statistics show that in 2021, Huawu received nearly 540,000 tourists, and the total income earned from tourism exceeded 250 million yuan.

 (Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 5, 2022)