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'First poverty reduction village' receives national attention after Xi’s virtual visit

(People's Daily Online)    09:37, February 23, 2016
'First poverty reduction village' receives national attention after Xi’s virtual visit
President Xi chats with villagers in Chixi Village online in a studio of People's Daily Online. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

After Chinese President Xi Jinping chatted online with villagers of Chixi Village in Ningde, southeast China’s Fujian province during his recent research tour of People’s Daily, the village, dubbed “China's first poverty reduction village,” soon began receiving attention nationwide.

Upon learning that the poverty rate in the village had dropped to 1 percent from 92 percent in the last century, Xi spoke highly of the villagers’ achievements, noting that the village’s success proves that the poverty alleviation philosophy of the Chinese government is correct.

Poverty alleviation depends largely on self-reliance and strong internal motivation, he added.

Two main factors contributed to the great importance attached to the village by President Xi. One is that he hoped for a better life for local residents, and the other is that the village sets a good example for future poverty reduction work.

Chixi Village was dubbed “China’s first poverty reduction village” for the first time in 1984, when People’s Daily published a reader letter and article describing the poverty in the village. It soon drew attention from the CPC Central Committee and State Council.

Three months later, the central government issued an announcement about the launch of a nationwide poverty reduction campaign. Chixi Village was one of the first villages to join the campaign.

Located at the corner of Taimu Mountain, a 5A-level scenic spot, Chixi Village had failed to translate its tourism potential into profit due to its inaccessible location.

But in recent years, authorities allocated more resources for local road construction, connecting the village with outside world.

Meanwhile, starting from 2005, the village devoted more efforts to the development of tourism by cooperating with tourism companies and organizations to increase investment.

The village also developed special tourism offerings like rafting, camping and a rare flora exhibition. Improved infrastructure also boosted the local tourism industry.

In 2015, the number of tourists in Chixi village reached 150,000. Once an impoverished outpost, Chixi Village was finally crowned as a model tourism village in China.

By utilizing its natural advantages, the village integrates tourism with ecology. Thanks to this new model, villagers’ income has also increased significantly, said Wu Yiguo, the head of the village.

According to Wu, the per capita income of the village in 2015 was 13,649 yuan ($2,093.8), among which tourism income accounted for 40 percent. 


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