Irresistible lightness of being

By Xu Lin | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-07-06 08:26
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Lanyue (Blue Moon) Valley at the foot of Yulong Snow Mountain. XU LIN/CHINA DAILY

Among the demonstration villages is picturesque Yuhu village, home to the Naxi ethnic group.

Austrian-American botanist and explorer Joseph Rock, who once lived in the village, among other places in the region between 1922 and 1949, introduced Naxi culture and local plants to the Western world.

The Naxi developed Dongba Script, and in 2003, UNESCO added the Naxi Dongba literature manuscripts to its Memory of the World Register. These ritual texts are a record of the indigenous religion of the Naxi people and are among the few surviving ancient indigenous religious books written with pictographic script.

He Xinhua, deputy secretary of the village's Party branch, says: "For such national traditional villages, designing and planning are essential to protect the ecology and original architecture and to best utilize tourism resources."

To enhance the experience for visitors, they plan to construct more minsu (Chinese-style bed-and-breakfast establishments) and boutique hotels, as well as to improve the village's infrastructure and tourism services, while ensuring appropriate use of the surrounding land.

They've adopted a scenic area management approach that seeks to balance tourism development with the preservation of the indigenous way of life.

"We aim to help villagers enjoy a good and prosperous life while maintaining their cultural heritage. For example, we're encouraging them to engage in the tourism industry by offering cultural experiences in their own courtyards," he says.

He notes that the rapid growth of tourism may pose challenges, as it could lead to the migration of residents to other areas. Therefore, he says it's crucial to implement strategies that mitigate this issue and encourage local residents to remain in the village.

"We hold deep respect for the elderly and hold the young in high regard. We've established a nursing home for the elderly villagers and worked hard to improve education within the village. We want to create opportunities for children from other areas to partner with local children, fostering mutual learning and growth."

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