Village in Zhejiang sets pace for green revival
A woman walks with her son sitting in Lizu village of Yiwu, Zhejiang province, on Tuesday. [Photo by Wang Jing/chinadaily.com.cn]
Once regarded as among the poorest and most dilapidated villages in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, Lizu village has now become one of the most popular destinations for tourists.
"I was so busy that I didn't even have time for a drink of water," said Feng Ling, who runs a small shop in the village, selling assorted sweetened drinks.
Over the Labor Day holiday running from April 29 to May 3, Feng said, her shop catered to an average of 300 customers each day. If that doesn't sound like a lot, note that the number of all permanent residents in Lizu village stands at a little over 700.
"It may sound ridiculous, but even our own villagers used to dislike the village," said Fang Haolong, Party secretary of Lizu.
Changes started to come to the place in late 2003. That June, President Xi Jinping, at the time secretary of the Communist Party of China's Zhejiang Provincial Committee, initiated the Green Rural Revival Program to transform some 10,000 out of 40,000 villages in Zhejiang in the next five years through ecological development and turn 1,000 of them into showcases of moderate prosperity in all respects.
Lizu village cleaned up its river and pond, renovated its old houses and paved its roads, and residents began to feel the concrete improvements on their quality of life.
As the village environment got better and facilities upgraded, in 2017, it became part of a boutique travel route developed by Yiwu to connect over 100 villages across the city.
Now, with services such as well-maintained homestays and camp sites easily available and accessible, Lizu village attracts crowds of visitors during weekends and public holidays.
The transformation of Lizu village, aided by the Green Rural Revival Program, is just one example of the successful implementation of the idea that lucid waters and lush mountains invaluable assets in rural areas.
In September 2018, the program won the "Champions of the Earth Award", the highest environmental honor given by the United Nations.