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Heilongjiang farmer wins award for assisting impoverished family

By Li Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-18 09:31

The first time Liu Hongxia came to Beijing was to receive a national award for fighting poverty. It was given to her along with another 139 individuals and groups on Wednesday in recognition of China's fifth National Poverty Alleviation Day.

The 34-year-old farmer from Shihugou village of Luobei county, Heilongjiang province, had managed to support her elderly parents-in-law and school-age daughter while her husband worked in nearby cities. But a car accident in 2014 left her husband bedridden and shattered all her expectations for a better life.

"My husband's medical bills created a debt of some 100,000 yuan ($14,400)," she said, adding that the income from raising crops was not sufficient to repay the bills.

To support her family, Liu applied for State subsidies, but the allowance failed to lift her whole family out of poverty.

Liu decided to raise some cows and grow cassia seed, a valuable plant that is said to be able to lower blood pressure and blood fat levels. Village cadres helped her get a loan of 30,000 yuan from a commercial bank and she purchased three cows. Just as her life turned for the better, she injured her right hand while preparing forage for the cows.

But the cows, the cassia seed in the field and her entire family needed her help, and she didn't stop.

"Cadres from my village as well as those from Luobei county often came to my house and taught me how to raise cows and cassia seed," she said.

"I have injuries on my right hand, so I have to use my left hand when trimming the cassia seed trees, which was not easy."

This year, Liu doubled her cassia seed field from the money she made, and purchased another four cows. "I will expect a harvest in 2021, and earn about 70,000 yuan from raising cassia seed alone," she said.

Liu's perseverance and her fight for a better life won her the national award for fighting poverty - which was established in 2016 to honor those who made contributions in poverty reduction.

Liu said she and her husband plan to give up State benefits next year, letting them assist people really in need. "I am truly thankful for those who lent their helping hands," she said.

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