Grassroots efforts bring far-reaching rewards

By Zou Shuo and Hu Meidong in Ningde, Fujian | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-13 07:54
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A new car completes assembly at the Ningde base of SAIC Motor Corp in Fujian province on Feb 7. [Photo/Xinhua]

Residents benefit from wide range of actions taken on their behalf

In the early 1990s, a small wooden boat was the home of Jiang Chengcai, which he shared with his wife, their three children and his father.

Jiang, 56, a resident of Xiaqi village, Ningde, Fujian province, said, "We often feared the boat would turn over, and that our lives were in danger when there were typhoons."

All villagers living on such boats wanted to move ashore for their children to be educated, said Jiang, who never had the chance to attend school.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, worked from 1988 to 1990 as Party chief of Ningde prefecture, Fujian. He often visited families living on the wooden boats, considering how to lift them out of poverty.

On many occasions, Xi has stressed the importance of Party and government officials promoting the Party's policy, conducting research, receiving complaints, and performing everyday work at the grassroots level.

He has emphasized that the Party chief of a county should visit all villages in the county, the Party chief of a city should visit all townships, and the Party chief of a province should visit all counties.

These field trips brought about changes. Jiang's family moved ashore in 1999, and more than 300 houses had been built locally by the end of 2000.

In one of Xi's trips to the village, he visited Jiang's home in 2000.

"He shook hands with me and asked if I could get used to life onshore. He also reminded me to work hard for a better life now that we lived in better conditions," Jiang said.

Since moving ashore, Jiang has taken part in training organized by the village on breeding razor clams, a business that brings him an annual income of more than 100,000 yuan ($14,000) on average.

Jiang also set up a construction and engineering team to undertake pile foundation projects for buildings in different cities. The team now comprises more than 60 people. Asked how much money the team could make, Jiang said only that he wants to remain modest and keep a low profile.

"I did not receive an education, so the key to my success is that I know what it is like to be poor. I have worked much harder than others, and seized the opportunities," he said.

These efforts made Jiang one of the first in the village to pursue a better life.

Zheng Yue'e, deputy Party secretary of Xiabaishi township, where the village is located, said Xiaqi now boasts neatly arranged rows of houses and straight roads, and the residents' average annual income has risen from 972 yuan in 1997 to more than 30,000 yuan this year. The village is also home to 320 people with a college education, up from none in 1997.

When Zheng was a small girl, her parents used to tie her to the family boat with a rope, fearing that she might fall into the sea by accident.

Elected Party chief of Xiaqi in 2012, Zheng has worked hard to help villagers lead better lives by developing seafood farming, as well as tourism, catering and logistics businesses.

She said township and village officials often visit local residents to see what they need, while municipal officials also conduct routine visits to inspect the progress made on infrastructure projects.

A seafood catering street being built in Xiaqi to attract travelers is expected to bring the village about 500,000 yuan in tax revenue each year, Zheng said.

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