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Village road leads residents to riches

By ZHU DIQI and TAN YINGZI in Chongqing | China Daily | Updated: 2023-10-31 08:48

Yuan Xiaoxin creates works of zaran tie-dyeing at her workshop in Xiazhuang village, Chongqing, earlier this month. HUANG WEI/XINHUA

The once-isolated village of Xiazhuang in Chongqing's mountainous Wushan county today welcomes a steady stream of visitors keen to take in the area's natural beauty and sample the local specialties.

The village's transformation began in 1997, when residents rallied under the leadership of Mao Xianglin, Party secretary of Xiazhuang, to build an 8-kilometer road passing the surrounding sheer cliffs that made access to the outside world extremely difficult.

The project took seven years and six people died while building the road, but upon its completion a new world of possibilities opened up.

The village didn't waste its newfound access and built more infrastructure to make life easier for residents and attract curious visitors from outside.

Yuan Xiaoxin, a college graduate from Xiazhuang who returned to her hometown early last year, has established a zaran workshop in her old family house. Zaran is a traditional Chinese tie-dyeing technique, and Yuan's workshop has become a popular tourist attraction where visitors can experience the charm of the intangible cultural heritage firsthand.

Xiazhuang has also benefited from China's rural vitalization policy, which has supported the development of local industries and infrastructure. Thanks to this policy, Yang Yuanding, a villager who helped build the road, was able to establish a successful homestay business in 2017.

Yang's homestay business has been doing well in recent months, with tourists from all over China coming to experience the village's natural splendor. He is full of confidence and hope for the future, believing that Xiazhuang will continue to grow and develop as a tourist destination.

In 2021, the village achieved a significant milestone, earning 1 million yuan ($137,000) in revenue from citrus sales, with each villager earning an average income of 20,000 yuan, a staggering increase from the 300 yuan before the road was built.

Mao Xianglin is proud of the village's transformation. He said that it was his dream to lift his community out of poverty and achieve prosperity, and that dream has now become a reality.

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