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A tale of two very wealthy villages (2)

(China Daily)

08:09, April 27, 2012

A stone gate, in the shape of Chinese paifang (memorial archway gate), stands in the south of the village. Wang Zhenghua / China Daily

But unlike the high profile Huaxi, which also falls under the jurisdiction of Jiangyin in Jiangsu province, village heads stay low-profile about the riches of Changjiang and have turned down almost all interview requests since the village was catapulted to fame when it issued two 100-gram bars of gold and silver to every household (rather than each person) in a preliminary celebration in 2010.

In a 2010 interview, Li Huixia, a public relations official with the Xin Chang Jiang Group, said the gold and silver were given to residents as tangible benefits of the village's prosperity and the value of the metals would appreciate every year, making them even happier.

Due to its low profile, the village sees hardly any tourists on a typical day. It is a modern area where industrial plants and modern dwellings have long replaced farmland, unlike the common notion of what a Chinese village should look like.

In its southern parts stands a gigantic stone gate with five gilded Chinese characters that read "Changjiang Village of China", easily visible from a distance. A major boulevard, flanked by 818 villas in neat rows, divides the village in two.

Utility companies and steel, pipe and ship recycling factories are among the enterprises in the north and far east and west of the village, which is green with plants.

The hospitality common in rural homes is not obvious in Changjiang, where each household locks itself behind bronze gates forged by the village as another gift to residents.

The people go to the village's central park after dusk, said two women from a nearby village.

Busy taking care of their children, they are the only visitors in the morning to the park that has luxury facilities such as tennis courts.

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