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The beauty & wisdom of the countryside

By Cheng Yuezhu | China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-15 16:18

Actor Jin Dong likes his role. He says he can see the characteristics of a rural official in the modern age, that is, a heartfelt love for life, work and the people.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Deputy editor-in-chief of a newspaper, food blogger and village official-there's no doubt about the versatility and socially minded commitment of Sun Guangming.

But, if you're anxious that all these tasks risk driving Sun into the ground, worry not, for he is merely a fictional character, a protagonist in the TV series Going Rural. Then again, the series hints that those, like Sun, who give everything to serve their fellow villagers can be found all over China. The program tells of his struggle to make use of his skills to help revitalize a village, and in so doing it presents the idyllic beauty of a countryside that is prospering, in no small measure because of those who inhabit it.

The show begins with Sun being chosen as the resident Party secretary of Houshigou, a real village in Shandong province in which the series was filmed. Arriving in Houshigou, villagers are quick to start putting obstacles in his way, and he faces stiff opposition from powerful parties whose business interests clash with his ambitions.

The director, Li Yunliang, says the themes of the series are a dramatized retelling of real issues that many village officials faced, based on research the production crew carried out as early as 2015.

The team went on field trips around Shandong in search of an ideal filming location, Li says, and conducted interviews with village officials, as it sought faithfully to portray their efforts to alleviate poverty and revitalize the countryside.

"It's not just about poverty alleviation," Li says. "In our research we found the villages had shaken off poverty, and were highly attractive, prosperous places. So we looked to deal with how the villages could grow in a sustainable way."

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