Subway brings vitality to northern Xi’an

Subway brings vitality to northern Xi'an
Photo taken on July 21 shows a magnificent view of Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi province. Photo by Wang Jing, People’s Daily Online

I live in the northern part of Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi province. Subway is a major way of transportation for me. It takes less than 10 minutes of walk for me to arrive at the nearest subway station, so it’s also convenient to go to the places along subway lines.

At present, Xi’an has opened four subway lines, and two of them pass through the northern part of the city. Zhangjiabu, on the northern outskirt of the city, is now a transfer hub where passengers can take the Line 2 to go to the Xi’an North railway station and get to an intercity rail for the airport after only one transfer.

I moved to the northern part of Xi’an 20 years ago from a small county outside Shaanxi province. I still remember that when I first arrived here, the residential complex that I lived in was surrounded by cropland and livestock farms. A rapeseed field was also near it.

Besides, there was a roundabout in Zhangjiabu, the “north gate” of Xi’an, where out-of-town truck rivers always lost their way. Therefore, guiding even became a business for some local residents.

Gradually I came to realize that the northern part of the city was usually not a choice for people to settle in due to its slow development. Even some stayed, but it was just temporary.

I remember going down town to watch my first movie in the city since I came here, but when the movie was over, many taxi drivers refused to pick me up when learning I lived in the north. They did so because they were afraid that their cabins might be left empty when going back, which was obviously a bad bargain.

The demand for transportation depends on economic vitality, passenger flow and gathering of people. When Xi’an gradually completed its gridded planning for the north, the region started to gain popularity. The increasingly prospering commerce there also promoted the improvement of infrastructure. A developed road network has been established, and three bus stations were around my residence.

Weiyang Road, which leads to the north, is a two-direction multi-lane arterial road that is always jammed today. To alleviate the traffic pressure, the use of private vehicles has been restricted based on even- and odd-numbered license plates. I used to sigh for the lack of vigor in the region, but now I’m pleased to see its prosperity.

Therefore, to build a transportation channel in the north under the ground became urgent, and the city’s decision to launch a subway project was sensational. I used to imagine that Xi’an might have its own subway one day when I was taking Beijing metro, so I was surprised as I learned a subway line was about to be constructed in the city, from Zhangjiabu. The construction of the subway line also became a hot topic for chinwags among friends and neighbors.

The subway line lies on the central axle of Xi’an and connects the northern and southern parts of the city. The stations along it are all places that I always go to. Thanks to the subway line, I don’t have to wait for buses any more.

The line started operation in 2011, and three new lines were later put into use in the city. Now, the city is planning to build more routes. As I learned, several new lines are expected to be opened before the end of the year. For instance, the Line 10 will stretch further north to the bank of the Weihe River.

Today, taking subway is not a fresh experience for me anymore, but the importance of subway has never been reduced in my life.

Zhangjiabu, where Xi’an’s subway project started, also has a “turnabout” under it that transfers passengers. With magnificent commercial complexes standing on it, the place has become a magnet for young people.

When the subway was constructed, an overpass was also newly added to the north. Today, the northern part of Xi’an has developed into a prosperous area that has a number of landmark sites, including Xi’an’s municipal stadium and library, as well as the Xi’an North railway station. Besides, the municipal government of the city has also moved to the region. The northern part is becoming another center of the city.

China, EU to bring ties to higher level

China, EU vow to bring bilateral ties up to a higher level
Photo taken on Sept. 8 shows a China-Europe freight train loaded with daily necessities departs from a station in the Urumqi International Land Port Area, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. (Photo by Cai Zengle/People’s Daily Online)

China and the European Union (EU) are going to bring the China-EU relations up to a higher level, according to a recent virtual meeting held among leaders of China, Germany and the EU.

During the meeting held via video link on the evening of Sept. 14, Chinese President Xi Jinping, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had in-depth exchange of views, charted a course for the development of China-EU relations in the next stage, and set priorities for bilateral ties between China and the EU.

They agreed to strengthen communication and cooperation to ensure the success of the upcoming series of major political agenda between China and the EU, enhance mutual trust, seek mutual benefits on a win-win basis, uphold multilateralism and jointly tackle global challenges.

The meeting showed the determination of China and the EU to firmly grasp the general trend of mutual support and united cooperation, and unswervingly promote the sound and stable development of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-EU diplomatic ties. The unexpected COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t blocked the high-level dialogues and exchanges between China and the EU.

In fact, Xi has kept in contact with leaders of EU institutions and member states via such means as phone calls and letters since the outbreak, even more frequently than before.

A series of meetings, including the 10th round of the China-EU high-level strategic dialogue, the 22nd China-EU leaders’ meeting, the 8th China-EU high-level economic and trade dialogue, and the China-EU high-level dialogue in the digital area, have been held amid the pandemic, fully demonstrating the common aspiration of the two sides to push forward their comprehensive strategic partnership.

On June 22, Xi met with Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen via video link, during which Xi stressed that China and the EU should serve as two major forces to maintain global peace and stability, two huge markets that promote global development and prosperity, and two great civilizations that adhere to multilateralism and help improve global governance.

At the recent China-Germany-EU leaders’ meeting, Xi further emphasized that the two sides should stick to four principles, namely peaceful coexistence, openness and cooperation, multilateralism, and dialogue and consultation.

Xi’s ideas about adhering to the four principles have pointed the way for joint efforts to push for a more stable and mature China-EU relationship in the post-pandemic era and lift their ties to a new height.

The meeting has injected fresh political impetus into the bilateral ties between China and the EU, according to the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Over the past 45 years since the establishment of their diplomatic ties, China and the EU have maintained the keynote of cooperation and constantly improved the well-being of their people.

The history of the development of China-EU ties has fully demonstrated that the cooperation between China and the EU is never a choice of expediency made under certain situation, but a strategic one that both sides voluntarily stick to. It has also proven that the China-EU cooperation aims not for short-term interests and gains, but long-term mutually beneficial results.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, China and the EU have supported and helped each other. Meanwhile, the trade and economic exchanges between the two sides have not only withstood the impact of the pandemic, but shown great resilience and witnessed constant expansion of cooperation in many fields.

In August, the number of trips made by China-Europe freight trains reached a record high of 1,247, up 62 percent year on year. These trains transported 113,000 twenty-foot equivalent units of goods, up 66 percent from the same period of the previous year.

China-Europe freight trains maintained double-digit growth in the number of trips and goods for the sixth consecutive month.

All these facts have shown that cooperation between China and the EU enjoys huge potential for growth.

During the recent China-Germany-EU leaders’ meeting, China and the EU announced the official signing of the China-EU agreement on geographical indications, stated their commitment to speeding up the negotiations of the China-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty to achieve the goal of concluding the negotiations within this year, and decided to establish a China-EU High Level Environment and Climate Dialogue and a China-EU High Level Digital Cooperation Dialogue and to forge China-EU green and digital partnerships.

These important cooperation achievements and consensuses reached between China and the EU have further expanded and deepened their bilateral cooperation, and enriched their relations.

As two major forces, huge markets and great civilizations in the world, what China and the EU advocate and oppose and in what areas they cooperate will have global significance.

The world is going through profound changes unseen in a century, and the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating such changes. Economic globalization has run up against headwinds; protectionism and unilateralism are on the rise; the world economy is in the doldrums; and international trade and investment have slumped. Such are the unprecedented challenges and tests in the work and life of mankind.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, China and the EU have maintained close contacts in anti-pandemic and global health cooperation, demonstrating the significance and global impact of China-EU relations.

The two sides aim to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination and cooperation, and maintain the stability of the global industrial chain and supply chain, jointly helping promote the recovery of the world economy.

During the recent meeting, China and the EU both showed willingness to strengthen cooperation, jointly safeguard multilateralism, resist unilateralism and protectionism, and respond more effectively to various global challenges, which has demonstrated both sides’ sense of responsibility for safeguarding the common interests of both Europe and China and the international community.

The more firm the strength underpinning China-EU peaceful coexistence, the more guaranteed the world peace and prosperity, Xi pointed out.

It’s certain that by remaining committed to promoting the sound and steady growth of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, China and the EU can inject more positive energy into COVID-19 response efforts, economic recovery and championing justice.

The year of 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. In such a special occasion, the efforts of China and the EU to strengthen political mutual trust, boost pragmatic cooperation, and forge a more influential comprehensive strategic partnership have infused valuable stability to the world full of uncertainties and are helpful for enhancing global governance and advancing the building of a community with shared future for mankind.

County uses stones to fight poverty

Xincheng county in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has been relying on its rich mineral resources in its mountainous areas to fight poverty in recent years.

Employees work at a marble processing plant in Xincheng county, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (Photo/Zhu Xiaoling) 

“People couldn’t grow crops here as there were stones everywhere. We could only let cattle graze on the fields at the foot of the mountains,” said Wei Yongping, a native of the county, who is also deputy head of the stone processing plant of Xincheng Western Mining Co., Ltd.

He never expected that the barren mountains that blighted agriculture would one day become invaluable assets.

“Xincheng contains over 1 billion cubic meters of many varieties of marble, and they are easy to exploit,” Wei said, explaining that the county’s marble has been sold domestically and internationally.

Furthermore, the county is accelerating the construction of a special engineering new material innovation industrial park invested by East Group Co., Ltd. on the bank of the Hongshui River.

“We mainly produce special materials needed for high-speed railways, tunnels, underground projects and roads, with an estimated annual output of up to 2 million tons,” said Huang Yong, a manager of the company.

Xincheng has large deposits of rocks that contain up to 56 percent of calcium carbonate, giving it broad prospects for exploitation, Huang said, adding that the company finally decided to launch the project in the county after three years of surveying work.

Photo shows the construction site of a project in Xincheng county, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (Photo/Yan Lizheng)

The company will also build five cargo berths with a capacity of 500 tons each, with an estimated annual throughput of 100,000 containers and 5 million tons of bulk cargo.

“Only by protecting our lucid waters and green mountains can we have invaluable assets,” said Li Lizhi, head of the project’s first tunnel team.

With 28 years of experience in tunnel construction, Li said that the company has placed great importance on environmental protection from the very beginning and on safeguarding the interests of local villagers.

The project has also been delivering benefits to local residents. “We can earn money near our homes and take care of our families, so we are willing to work for the project,” said Lan Danghua, a resident of Mati village in the county’s Hongdu town. Lan began working in the industrial park along with several other villagers soon after the project started.

“Except for core technicians, we give priority to hiring local villagers, especially poor households and people who have been lifted out of poverty,” Huang said.

He added that the company will also work with local vocational schools on poverty alleviation through education by providing funds to train industrial workers, which is expected to create over 600 job opportunities.

Universities push Clean Your Plate drive

At the beginning of the new semester, canteens from colleges and universities in Beijing came up with new ways to encourage students to prevent wasting food and “clean their plates.

Students buy “small fried dish” in a canteen in the Capital University of Economics and Business (Photo/Cao Haipeng)

In order to encourage teachers and students to empty their plates, in addition to providing half servings of rice, canteens at Beihang University have begun to produce and sell handmade “mini-sized steamed buns” at a low price.

One of the canteens has also provided a half-price “small fried dish”, while some other canteens allow customers to take food themselves and pay according to the weight of the meals.

“Finally, there is no need to worry about having meals with inappropriate servings. It’s perfect, as I can buy one and a half servings now,” said a girl at the canteen.

Meals suitable for sale by weight can be counted in tael at canteens of Tsinghua University.

Rice can also be bought in tael, and a large steamed bun can be sold in halves. Furthermore, the canteens also provide takeaway packaging to encourage students to pack up their leftovers.

Canteens at the Capital University of Economics and Business have provided windows for small servings of food. “It’s hard not to have an empty plate,” said Feng Boyi, a sophomore, adding that “it’s very scientifically designed.”

At a canteen of the university, teachers and students can get rewards such as paper tissues and fruits with their emptied plates. The school also plans to upgrade the intelligent settlement system to help make the Clean Your Plate campaign a normal part of canteen procedure.

Students from the China Agricultural University can be rewarded with customized university-themed tableware if they post photos of their emptied plates on their social media.

Ma Ziwei, organizer of the activity and deputy secretary of the university’s Youth League Committee, said that the purpose of this activity is to teach freshmen the first lesson on not wasting food and to create a strong campus atmosphere of cherishing food.

Manufacturing sector sees rapid recovery

During the COVID-19 epidemic, China’s manufacturing sector withstood the test posed by the virus, and helped ensure stable global industrial and supply chains.

In August, the country’s exports totaled nearly 1.7 trillion yuan, up 11.6 percent, an increase that has been attributed to the rapid recovery of China’s manufacturing sector.


China has taken the lead in resuming work and production as the pandemic continues to disrupt global industrial and supply chains, said Han Jianfei, a researcher at CCID, a think tank under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, adding that the sharp rebound in China’s export growth reflects the resilience of the country’s manufacturing sector.

The country’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index stood at 51 in August, above the 50-point mark that separates monthly growth from contraction. The sub-index for new orders stood at 52, marking the fourth consecutive month of growth, indicating the continuous recovery of market demand.

High-tech manufacturing has taken a marked turn for the better. In July, the value added by electronic and information manufacturing enterprises above designated size grew by 11.8 percent, up 5.7 percentage points year on year. Furthermore, the exported value by electronic and information manufacturing enterprises above designated size rose by 10.7 percent, an increase of 7.4 percentage points from a year ago.

Brothers tour China with old-aged parents

Two brothers in Shenyang, northeast China’s Liaoning province, were widely praised recently for spending the last few years travelling around the country with their octogenarian parents.

Photo shows Shan Zhongyu, his parents, his youngest brother and his brother’s daughter taking a group photo in front of a snow mountain.

Shan Zhongyu, 64 years old, came up with the plan when he retired four years ago. Before his retirement, he had frequently made short trips with his parents. In 2014, he bought a seven-seat car and transformed it into a “recreational vehicle” with an inverter and alternator so that they could cook during the trips.

Since then, Shan, his second younger brother, their wives and Shan’s parents have traveled 240,000 kilometers across China in the vehicle.

In September 2016, Shan and his brother drove south to Chengdu in southwest China’s Sichuan province via Beijing and Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi province. They then decided to drive to southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region via Chengdu, a trip that their parents had long wanted to make.

Shan drew up detailed travel plans, including the locations of airports and hospitals along the way, to ensure that his parents could get timely treatment if they suffered altitude sickness and that the family could fly back home if they needed to.

In Chengdu, Shan’s youngest brother joined the team, and they bought portable oxygen bottles and first aid kits, which they needed for their trip to Tibet on National Highway 318.

When they arrived at the picturesque Xinduqiao town located at 3,000 meters above sea level in Sichuan’s Kangding county, Shan’s mother, who was 83 years old, felt dizzy. Fortunately, she recovered the next morning, allowing them to continue the trip. Ten days later, they arrived in Lhasa from Chengdu.

Shan’s parents were stunned by the scenery that they saw on the trip. The family enjoyed the beauty of the region’s glaciers and snow mountains.

Shan’s 85-year-old father recalled the dazzling sunlight at 8:30 p.m. when they arrived in Lhasa, Tibetan prayer flags flying on the mountains, Tibetan people, pilgrims and the large garden behind the Potala Palace, Lhasa’s most iconic building.

After staying in Lhasa for three days, they drove through the depopulated zones in Qinghai and Tibet via the Qinghai-Tibet highway and visited Qinghai Lake, the largest inland salt lake in China. Finally, they drove home through north China’s Inner Mongolia.

In past years, the two brothers have also made road trips to Hainan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong, Guizhou and Yunnan provinces with their parents.

The two brothers usually took two long journeys and several short trips in spring and autumn with their parents. Shan always made travel plans and avoided visiting places they had been to previously.

Youngsters snatch low-cost tour products

Young Chinese people are eagerly seeking out the best domestic travel deals, such as low-price air tickets and hotel fees, as many tourist platforms and local governments have provided subsidies to boost the tourist industry.


The proportion of young tourists travelling domestically is on the rise. According to data, 58 percent of tourists are post-90s, and the growth rate of post-00s tourists should not be underestimated either.

Young tourists are no longer travelling just for sightseeing: those born after 1995 want to bring their pets to stay in hotels, and for parent-child trips, young tourists prefer hotels that help look after their children, while guesthouses have become a popular choice for team-building exercises.

Furthermore, young tourists visiting Hainan love to shop for tax-free goods. When they were unable to go out because of the epidemic, they would travel virtually: live-streamed guides by curators from the British Museum and Versailles have also become a reality.

At the same time, the younger generation’s new travel preferences have also brought new challenges to domestic scenic spots and hotels. For example, hotels should not only be a place to stay, but also provide more comprehensive services such as parent-child activities, spas and group building activities.

These young tourists are also keen on getting the best deals for flight ticket price and hotels, in some cases as low as 66 yuan (about US $9.65) for a flight or 99 yuan for one night at a hotel. Sometimes, their destinations depend on where they can obtain a special “subsidy”.

In addition, more than 60 percent of consumers plan to increase their travel budgets by more than 2,000 yuan this year, the data showed. At the same time, the epidemic has made consumers pay greater attention to travel safety, with customized and small group tours becoming more popular than before.

COP 15 to be held in Kunming next year

COP 15 to be held in China's Kunming next year
Photo shows a view of the rain forest in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan province. By Shao Bin/People’s Daily Online

The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15) is scheduled to be held between May 17 to 30 the next year in Kunming, southwest China’s Yunnan province. The goals and methods of, as well as the cooperation on biological diversity, once again become a hotspot international issue.

Biological diversity is a broad concept that describes the variety of the nature. It includes landscape diversity, ecological diversity, species diversity and genetic diversity.

In recent years, the concept gradually expanded to human and cultural level, and ecological civilization has been put under protection mechanism.

Last September, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity jointly unveiled the theme of the COP15 – “Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth”. The theme aims at guiding global ecological civilization, and stresses that human and nature belong to a community with a shared future. It holds that people shall respect, conform to and protect nature, and shall work to realize sustainable use and benefit sharing of biological diversity, as well as the Vision of Living in Harmony with Nature by 2050.

China is one of the most biodiversity-rich countries in the world, and is home to all types of terrestrial ecosystems, including forest, bush, meadow, grassland, desert and wet land. Besides, it also possesses marine ecosystems in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and South China Sea. Meanwhile, as an important source of rice and soybeans, China also boasts rich biological genetic resources. It ranks first in terms of plant cultivation and animal domestication.

China ranks eighth among the 12 mega-biodiverse countries in the world. Other countries include Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Yunnan province has various natural landscapes and a complete ecosystem ranging from tropical valley to alpine frigid zone. Housing rare, special and ancient species, it is known as a key area of biodiversity that bears global significance. That’s why it has become the host for the COP15.

In Sept. 2010, the United Nations General Assembly at its 65th session declared the period 2011-2020 to be the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, hoping member states to take actions for realizing biodiversity goals by 2020.

China is one of the earliest countries to join the Convention on Biological Diversity, and it took the lead to establish a national committee for biodiversity conservation for the planning of its biodiversity protection. It released an implemented the China National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (2011-2030), as well as an action plan for the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity. The country’s local governments and departments also incorporated biodiversity conservation into relevant planning.

Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng presided over a meeting of China National Committee for Biodiversity Conservation on Feb. 13, 2019. He stressed that biodiversity is a foundation of human survival and development. To enhance biodiversity conservation is an important part of ecological civilization, as well as a vital engine driving high-quality development. Noting that the COP15 will be held in China, he urged relevant departments to make full preparation and fulfill the responsibilities of a host country, so as to hold a successful meeting that has milestone significance.

Ecological experts believe that the theme of the COP15 bears significant importance, as it will guide the international society to foster a strong political will to protect biodiversity, advance global ecological civilization, help realize sustainable use and benefit sharing of biological diversity, and reach the Vision of Living in Harmony with Nature by 2050. Meanwhile, China will also contribute its wisdom and power at the meeting to the conservation and sustainable development of global biodiversity.

Decoupling with China will only harm U.S.

Recently, a Facebook user living in Washington shared his experience of buying a fridge and having to wait more than four months for the product to be delivered during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Photo shows the words “Made in China” on the packaging of a fridge bought by a Facebook user living in Washington who said he waited for more than four months for delivery during the COVID-19 epidemic in the U.S.

With the COVID-19 outbreak leading to people hoarding more food, demand for fridges surged, and they had been sold out since March, the man recalled, saying that he ordered a fridge online in mid-April, but the product was out of stock until Aug. 26.

When he finally did bring a fridge from an offline store home, he found that the product was made in China. “It’s better not to decouple from China,” he said.

The man’s remark revealed that China and the U.S. have an economic relationship that is as inter-connected as it is possible to be.

For over 40 years, China and the U.S. have forged closely entwined economic ties. The Wall Street Journal said on June 14 that China has retaken its mantle as America’s largest trading partner. Statistics show that the trade volume between the two countries reached $234 billion in the first half of this year, and exceeded $50 billion in June alone.

Over 70,000 American businesses have made investments in China with an annual sales revenue of $700 billion. 97 percent of these countries are making a profit.

According to a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, 92.1 percent of its members said they do not have plans to leave China, even as Trump pushes to decouple from the country.

However, the Trump administration tends to act capriciously and wants to decouple the world’s two largest economies without considering the possible harm this will do to the business and science community or ordinary people. On Sept. 7, Trump told a Labor Day news conference at the White House that the U.S. will end its reliance on China once and for all.

Heath Pittman, international logistics manager at Rural King Farm & Home Stores in the U.S., will reject this call.

According to a report titled “Urged by Trump to Decouple, U.S. Companies Want More China Faster” by Bloomberg on June 28, thanks to a flexible supply chain and close relationship with vendors in China and elsewhere in Asia, Rural King has managed to avoid shortages of goods that many retailers experienced during U.S. lockdowns. Pittman’s advantage is that he has more than 100 suppliers in China.

Trump’s China’s policy is disconnected from the U.S. business community, said Evan Medeiros, former senior director for Asian Affairs at the White House’s National Security Council on Sept. 7 at the virtual Taihe Civilizations Forum hosted by Taihe Institute, a Beijing-based think tank.

The U.S. business community is particularly concerned about science and technology cooperation between the two countries, and wants protection in their fields rather than confrontation in the economic relationship, Medeiros noted.

An article published by the Wall Street Journal on June 2 said that U.S. dependence on China isn’t just about buying masks or iPhones. China’s companies are major customers of U.S. high technology, and its students, who account for one-third of all the international students in the U.S., help fund America’s universities. Meanwhile, labor in China helps Apple churn out the devices quickly, and other economies are unlikely to replicate the Chinese mainland’s economies of scale.

Is decoupling from China good for people in China, the U.S., and the rest of the world? Some U.S. politicians who started brandishing the threat of decoupling from China believe that they will not have to pay for it.

Right growth path key to reducing poverty

Right development path key to poverty alleviation
Photo taken on June 13 shows the magnificent Tianzhu Peak, the main peak of the Wudang Mountains in Shiyan, central China’s Hubei province. (Photo by Zhao Guangliang/People’s Daily Online)

What should be feared is not poverty, but people’s losing confidence in shaking off poverty. This is the most important thing I’ve learnt in Baimashan village since I was appointed the first secretary of the village Party committee in 2017.

Baimashan village used to be one of the poorest villages in central China’s Hubei province, with 346 poor people of 120 households. Due to backward infrastructure, sluggish industry growth, and the fact that nearly half of the poor population of the village didn’t have professional skills, what I heard people complain about the most when I first visited the village was “I don’t have a proper way to make money.”

Bao Shengyun’s family was a typical example of impoverished households in the locality.

Bao and her husband, both in their fifties, have neither a decent educational background nor skills to make handicrafts. The couple lived in an adobe house at a hillside and had been carrying goods with a shoulder pole to sell for a living for many years.

According to Bao, she had to walk more than two hours on the earth road every day and carry goods on her shoulders to sell at the mountaintop of the Baimashan scenic area in the village.

“It is tough, and yet we can’t get much money from it,” Bao told me when I visited her house for the first time. Her family was leading a quite hard life at that time and I encouraged them to figure out ways to get rid of poverty.

After in-depth investigation into the village, my colleagues and I found out the crux of the problems hindering the development of village.

Located about 30 kilometers from the center of Shiyan city, Baimashan has a foundation for tea industry and enchanting scenery, but had been long encumbered by weak links in infrastructure, in particular, its poor traffic conditions. Without good roads, it was hard for the scenic area in the village to attract tourists and build the brand.

After identifying the root cause of the problems, we quickly made a plan and started to improve the village through multiple measures.

We won policy and financial support from many departments and finally renovated 7 kilometers of roads to Baimashan village, held a series of rich and colorful activities featuring folk customs and culture after Baimashan’s scenic area was declared a national three-A tourist attraction, and attracted tea companies to the village and established poverty alleviation tea workshops.

As the traffic and environment of the village is gradually improved, more visitors have been attracted to Baimashan village.

Bao saw a business opportunity of opening an agritainment restaurant and came to me for help as she couldn’t find a site and lacked start-up capital.

I was delighted to see that she was in surprisingly high spirits and helped her maintain good relations with her neighbors while demolishing her old house and establishing a new one.

After a new house was built, Bao started with the agritainment business and we even set up a advertising board in front of her agritainment restaurant.

When we saw her later at the entrance of Baimashan village, she had a big smile on her face and told us with confidence that her restaurant was doing very well and could easily bring in 30,000 ($4,386) to 40,000 yuan per year.

We suggested that she should adopt mobile payments in her restaurant. Before long, people could pay bills at Bao’s agritainment restaurant by scanning QR codes.

By enhancing infrastructure construction, cultivating leading industries, and building and promoting brand, Baimashan village has blazed a development road featuring tea industry and tourism. It has increased the per capita annual income of local people by 3,000 yuan on average and shaken off poverty.

Today, the annual collective income of Baimashan village has exceeded 250, 000 yuan. The figure is expected to reach 350,000 yuan in 2021.

Moreover, the village has established a tea culture base, developed about 83.33 hectares of standardized tea gardens, and held five folk customs and culture-themed tourism festivals.

The barren wastelands in the old days have been replaced by vast areas of orchards and tea gardens, while the adobe houses in the past have been changed into beautiful western-style buildings.

With more than 20 family inns and agritainment restaurants scattered in the village, Baimashan, a once remote and poor village, has become a popular holiday resort for people living in urban areas.

The three years of experience in poverty alleviation made me realize that as long as we find the right development path for a place and work hard together with the local people, we can surely create a better life for them.

(By Tian Huanan, first secretary of Baimashan village Party committee, Bailin township, Zhangwan district, Shiyan, Hubei province.)