A thirst for change

(Xinhua) 08:49, April 22, 2022

BEIJING, April 21 (Xinhua) -- According to a Chinese proverb, only the one who drinks the water knows its heat. President Xi Jinping, determined to serve the people and their real needs, once visited a northwest China village beset by drought and water shortage and tasted local water.

During an inspection tour in Gansu Province just before the Spring Festival in 2013, Xi visited Ma Gang's house. While chatting with the Ma family in their rundown home, Xi reached to scoop up some water from the water jar and tasted it.

The taste of the water made him frown.

Ma lived in Yuangudui Village of Weiyuan County in the heart of Gansu. The area only had a handful of springs and wells and the community had long suffered from drought and water shortages. Local residents had to take a long trek to fetch water, and their plight was even captured in a local folk song: I got up before the rooster crows; when I bring the water back, the sky turns bright.

The following day after his visit to Ma's house, Xi toured a water diversion project, calling for greater efforts to ensure local residents have access to clean and sweet water.

By December 2014, the first phase of the water diversion project had been completed; and the related drinking water project had brought clean water to 96 percent of the villagers in Yuangudui.

Not only were droughts significantly reduced but the project also quenched the thirst of local development, bringing with it new streams of income, from the cultivation of lily bulbs, potatoes, and herbs to rural tourism.

Before 2012, over 80 percent of the households in Yuangudui were below the poverty line, with an average annual income of less than 1,500 yuan (about 234 U.S. dollars). By 2018, the tides had turned, the whole village had been lifted out of poverty, and by 2020, local per capita disposable income had surpassed 10,000 yuan.

To this day, the villagers still remember what Xi told them during his visit: "let's work together to create a prosperous life."

Yuangudui not only has clearer waters, but also takes on a new look.

Just as a new folk song among the villagers has it: "The village looks different; the power grid improves and the lights light up; the tap water is running, the roads are broader... and the confidence for a prosperous life becomes stronger." 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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