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The Sweet Taste of Grapes

By Li Fei and Qin Liyun Source: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2022-10-28

Maozhushan Village, Quanzhou County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is about a 10-minute drive from the memorial park dedicated to the Battle of the Xiangjiang River during the Long March of the Red Army that took place in the 1930s. Flanked by lush mountains and foliage, a cement road winds its way around the village, flickering in and out of view, amid rows of northern-Guangxi-style dwellings and large vineyards that back onto the mountain foothills. The scene is one of thriving industry, rural prosperity, and pastoral beauty.

On April 25, 2021, President Xi Jinping visited the village to inspect the local grape industry and talk to residents about development and revitalization. He stressed that ensuring people live better lives was a matter of national importance. "To promote all-around rural revitalization," he noted, "we must base our efforts on distinctive local resources, invigorate agriculture with science and technology, develop new sectors and forms of business such as rural tourism and recreational agriculture according to local conditions, integrate production and processing with marketing, and combine agriculture, cultural industries, and tourism to drive forward rural industry and ensure a greater share of the industry value-added for our rural residents."

Keeping in mind President Xi's instructions, the officials and residents of Maozhushan Village are forging ahead with their work. They are in the process of turningtheir local area, once the site of a ferocious battle, into a wonderful example of rural revitalization.

The joy of a family

Though the village was named for moso bamboo, Maozhushan has become famous for its grapes. Its thriving grape industry has transformed the small mountain village.

Next to the village vineyards sits the modest three-story home of Wang Deli. A photo of Wang's family with Xi Jinping takes pride of place on the living room wall. Wang speaks in an animated tone when recalling Xi's visit to his home. "When President Xi visited with us, he told us to focus on learning scientific and technological skills and to use knowledge as a support for rural revitalization. His visit has given us greater confidence for developing the grape industry." With the help of scientists and technicians dispatched to the village, Maozhushan has introduced better grape varieties. Wang was especially enthusiastic in this process, leading a charge to cut down the old vines, and planting 2,000 square meters of high-quality grape varieties. His family has been recognized by the village for its exemplary role in grape cultivation. "Last year, I earned more than 100,000 yuan from grapes alone," said Wang with delight.

The joy of Wang's family encapsulates the development of the grape industry in Maozhushan Village. It has become a distinctive industry fueling revitalization and growth in the incomes of residents. In 2021, the village harvested over 1,750 kilograms per 0.67 hectares, about 250 kilograms more than the previous year. With the price increasing by over two yuan per kilo, the per capita net income generated from grapes alone reached 25,000 yuan.

In the gentle summer breeze, Wang Deli, who is fully devoted to the vineyard, softly hums as he prunes the vines. The feeling of happiness is indeed just as sweet as the taste of grapes.



A village transformed

"A good life is born out of hard work." The villagers of Maozhushan have not only carved out this saying of Xi Jinping and placed it in the highest, most prominent place in the village, but also engraved it in their minds.

Strolling through Maozhushan, fresh signs of hard work abound—well-kept roads, lines of new buildings, a cultural activity center with a distinctive design, a theater, and micro-gardens planted with flowers and vegetables. The vibrancy of this revolutionary site would give comfort to the martyrs buried here.

Now that the village is developed and attractive, more tourists are visiting. New development opportunities have sparked a new shift in Maozhushan Village. Drawing on the revolutionary cultural resources of the nearby memorial park dedicated to the Battle of the Xiangjiang River, the village has launched educational initiatives with revolutionary and patriotic themes. At the same time, it has developed new industries and new forms of business, including eco-agriculture, recreational fruit picking, sightseeing, and tourism, to create an integrated rural tourism model. In Maozhushan, visitors can not only learn about revolutionary culture, but also experience beautiful countryside that offers lush mountains, clear waters, and a reminder of the rural lifestyle. In the past year, the number of visits to the village for tourism, fieldwork, and research has exceeded 300,000, a figure that is dozens of times higher than in previous years and has brought an increase of over 10,000 yuan in the average income of each household in the village. Today, the small mountain village is transitioning from relying solely on the grape industry to developing the agriculture, cultural, and tourism industries. It has won numerous honorary titles, being recognized as a village of beauty and leisure at the national level, a village of civility and health at the autonomous region level, and a Guangxi eco-friendly village.

A proud publicity team

In moving toward prosperity, the residents of Maozhushan have not forgotten the support of the CPC. Having greatly benefitted from the policies of the Party, they feel a strong sense of gratitude toward it.

The sound of loudspeakers is often heard in Maozhushan Village. Sometimes announcements explain the policies and principles of the Party; other times stories of the Red Army are recounted. Wang Xinming, secretary of the village Party branch, explained that the Party branch established a publicity team in 2021. Twelve Party members in the village volunteered to join the team. They use small stories and minor changes to explain local affairs, major principles, and general development trends and introduce the Party's latest innovations in theory to ordinary households. Publicizing the revolutionary culture of Quanzhou County is also a major focus for the team. The heroic feats of the Red Army are kept alive in this way, being passed from generation to generation, from veteran Party members to younger ones, and from younger members to village residents. The publicity team has been dubbed the "revolutionary communications team" by residents.

Maozhushan's grape industry has matured, and the whole place is thriving. The village that the Red Army passed through on their Long March years ago has undergone a tremendous transformation. In the new era, it is now advancing in broad strides on a new journey toward rural revitalization.

(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 13-16, 2022)