Feature: A diarist in Winter Olympic town of Chongli

(Xinhua) 09:44, May 01, 2023

BEIJING, April 30 (Xinhua) -- "Hello, this is Qiannan." Guo Qiannan always starts her video blog with the greeting, which appears 57 times in 2022, to record people's lives in her hometown - Chongli.

However, just several years ago, Guo was determined to leave the small town in Zhangjiakou and pursue her dream in the metropolis.

On July 31, 2015, the whole town was cheering as Beijing won the bid for the Winter Olympics, and Zhangjiakou became one of the three competition zones of the Games. "But I didn't understand why they were so happy at that time," Guo said.

Located in north China's mountain area, Chongli has a rather long snow season, which is a favorable natural condition for developing world-level ski resorts. However, few people, including Guo, could imagine that the Winter Olympics would bring such a big change to the small town.

At the end of 2019, the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed rail started its service with a top speed of 350 kilometers per hour. It used to take more than four hours to drive from Chongli to Beijing, while currently, traveling by high-speed rail only needs less than an hour.

The improved infrastructure and convenient transportation in Chongli enabled the people there to earn a better life and also attracted youth like Guo back to their hometown.

"When I came back to Chongli by a quirk of fate and found a job at a local ski resort, I saw that the once-sleepy town had become much busier because of skiing," Guo recalled.

"No one here liked the heavy snow and cold winter before, but now, everyone embraces it," Guo said. "Last year, I witnessed the Winter Olympics held in Chongli. When I personally got involved in a major event of my hometown, my country, and even the world, I was really proud."

Then, she started to share everything happening in Chongli with others through photos and videos, introducing the lives of skiers, farmers, and young people in the Winter Olympic town to the world.

Also in 2022, together with her friends, Guo opened a cafe on Chongli's main street. "I am willing to be a storyteller with a cafe rich in stories. Hopefully, it can add a bit of romance to this small town," she noted.

In the first winter after Beijing 2022, Chongli became a popular destination for skiers and tourists, receiving nearly 1.8 million visits.

"The town is filled with vitality, and our lives still have shining moments," Guo and her friends talked about their business plans and enjoyed the music within the 45-square-meter space.

"The cafe harbors our passion and dreams. It's more than making a living; it's about living a life," said the 31-year-old.

"Now, I finally came to understand why people cheered that wildly in 2015. That is because Chongli was about to embrace a promising future, and my life also started on its new trajectory," Guo said. 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Du Mingming)


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