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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Road to rural revival

By D J Clark (China Daily)

10:53, March 19, 2012

Journeys through remote settlements in Hebei, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces reveal how transportation, healthcare and water safety changes are transforming the countryside. D J Clark reports in Guangdong province.

Driving through a steep mountain gorge and into Jiangfushan, my driver explained how the village was so hard to access that invading armies had never managed to penetrate its natural defenses.

I had traveled north and then west around the Bohai Sea from Liaoning province and into Hebei province for the second stage of my journey around rural China, investigating how 30 years of rural reforms had impacted the lives of villagers across the country.

Greeting me at his farmhouse door was Di Bao, now in his 60s and nervous about being interviewed. I started by asking him how life in the village had changed.

"Now is much better than 30 years ago. Science and technology has improved the agricultural output. This has been the main difference as a farmer," he told me, starting to settle his nerves as he sucked on a hand-rolled cigarette between questions.

"We used to grow 30 to 40 kg of rice per mu (15 mu equals 1 hectare). But now we grow around 500 kilos of rice per mu. We also used to have to carry water from the well, but now we have running water in every house, and we can use motorized vehicles for transport."

An asphalt road was built four years ago as part of a drive by the central government to connect villages across the country to the main highways.

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