A rural success story

By Yang Yang | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-12-05 08:15
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Visitors flock to the bookstore. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The last part of the bookstore is a tower, which looks like an abstract diaolou, but has no particular function.

"We climbed up and found nothing there, but it does encapsulate the essence of arts and literature for its uselessness, which is so brilliant," said Han Dong, a poet who attended the opening ceremony.

With the World Heritage sites and the nearby Chikan ancient town, located in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Tangkou has been attracting more young people back to the villages in recent years.

Since 2016, in Tangkou, Li Jijin, an architecture graduate from Wuyi University, and his friends have carried out several renovations, turning a hardware factory from the 1980s into a public space for lectures, exhibitions, reading and dining; a watch factory from the 1990s into an international youth hostel and an old post office into a corporate office.

Later, they organized a series of activities for people to learn about the World Heritage sites and the town, attracting more than 30,000 visitors to Tangkou. One of them, the Summer Country Fair, in 2020, attracted more than 50,000 people to the once abandoned industrial area.

"A sea change has happened here. It's now very strange to me. Five years ago, it was a quiet, dimly lit place, like any unremarkable town in China. But now the bookstore is welllit and pleasant. In the surrounding areas, a lot of hotels and guesthouses have appeared," Li Yuxiang says.

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