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Residents in cliff-top village moving to new urban homes

By HUANG ZHILING in Chengdu | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-05-12 09:36

A resident of Atuleer village heads to her new home located in the county seat of Zhaojue, Sichuan province, on May 12, 2020. [Photo by Yin Gang/For China Daily]

Eighty-two households in the cliff-top village of Atuleer in Sichuan province's Zhaojue county were preparing on Monday to move to new apartments in the county seat as part of the nation's poverty relief program.

"The government has bought new furniture for each of the households in the new homes. We only need to take clothes and quilts there," Mou'se Subure, a young man of the Yi ethnic group, said of Tuesday's planned relocation.

The village, atop a 1,400-meter cliff, garnered nationwide attention in 2016 when a Chinese newspaper published a collection of photos featuring students scaling the cliff via an 800-meter zigzag network of rattan ladders with no railings-their only link to the outside world.

Villagers used the ladders to reach the nearest market several kilometers away once a week to sell peppers and walnuts, and to buy necessities.

Soon the governments in Zhaojue and the Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture spent 1 million yuan ($141,000) to add a steel ladder with a handrail that has cut travel time to the nearest town from three hours to one.

Villagers take a group photo before heading to their new homes on May 12, 2020. [Photo by Yin Gang/For China Daily]

Now, a total of 84 households-a majority of the villagers-will settle in five residential quarters in the county seat 75 km away. The members of two households were so excited about their new homes that they moved on Monday, one day ahead of schedule, said Ahke Jiushe, an information officer of the county government.

The relocated villagers will live in new apartments that have kitchens and toilets with running water.

"We used to live in adobe houses and have never seen such nice apartments near schools and hospitals," Mou'se said.

The 84 households have very limited means, with an annual per capita income of about 3,000 yuan.

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