'Cliff' villagers relocated to start a new life

Source:CCTV.com 24-07-20 04:03 Updated BJT
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By CCTV.com Zhou Fujing

Chinese authorities has worked out different methods to improve people’s lives and one of them is “relocation.” It means moving residents who lived in harsh natural environment to places more suitable for living. Atule’er Village, known as “cliff village” situated at the top of a steep 800-meter-high cliff in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, is such an example.

Because of the location, in the past villagers used handmade ladders to scale the cliff when they return from the outside. It would take them three hours to get down the hill to buy a pack of salt. Children had to climb make-shift ladders of vines up and down to attend school. Some children didn’t attend school until they were strong enough to climb the ladder to go down the hill. The ladders were not stable after being exposed to sunburns and rains for months. Parents accompanying them all the way had to take charge of their safety.

Life was extremely hard for the village’s 84 poverty-hit households. How to improve their lives is the great concern of local government.

A family from Atule’er Village, known as the “cliff village,” moves to their new relocation house in Zhaojue County on May 13, 2020 and takes a photo. (Photo by Red Star News, Jiang Long/visual.people.cn)

A family from Atule’er Village, known as the “cliff village,” moves to their new relocation house in Zhaojue County on May 13, 2020 and takes a photo. (Photo by Red Star News, Jiang Long/visual.people.cn)

Build steel staircases

The huge improvement project began with building a safe ladder. In May 2016, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture and Zhaojue County allocated 1 million yuan to construct a 2,556-step steel staircase. Within four months, the village greeted six brides from outside villages.

Develop tourism

Since June 2017, banking service points, 4G networks were introduced in order to develop local tourism industry. Locals made use of the natural scenery to attract tourists. Tremendous changes have been undertaken in the village.

Relocation plan

Children used to climb a ladder made of vines to go down the hill to attend school (left); Villagers step down the steel staircase to move into new houses on May 13, 2020.

Children used to climb a ladder made of vines to go down the hill to attend school (left); Villagers step down the steel staircase to move into new houses on May 13, 2020.

In April 2019, local government planned to relocate 84 poverty-stricken households to Zhaojue County. A year later, from May 12 to14, 2020, 344 villagers moved to new houses in the county. In the community, there are supermarkets, public squares, schools, a basketball playground and entertainment facilities. The villagers start their new lives.

Besides, more than 18,000 residents from 92 remote villages within the county moved to new houses. By June 2020, a total of 1.36 million residents in Sichuan Province who lived in harsh conditions had moved to new houses.

How do they make a living in the county?

After the relocation, villagers have to get used to the new life and find ways to earn a living. The local government has organized skill trainings, optimized the small-amount loan policies and encouraged residents to join the new type agricultural business operations and seek jobs in the county. They can manage their farmland or transfer them to others to generate income. The county has developed potato, tartary buckwheat and cereal and other distinctive industries, introduced capital and technology to expand supply chains.

Respect villagers’ decisions

The government respected the decision of each villager. Zikelage, secretary of Zhaojue County Party Committee, said that 77 houses chose to remain in the village and they can join tourism development, or start up business. The government would reclaim the houses whose owners had moved to county, rebuild or demolish them. Some companies planned to invest in the village to develop tourism. He said a cable that leads to the top of the mountain would be built at the end of the year. As some villagers have already left, more land was available, so they can launch large-scale planting and farming.

Relocation is an effective way to improve a residents’ life. It is especially suitable for residents in naturally harsh regions. It worked out in other regions as well. For example, more than 1,400 poverty-hit farmers and herders, who used to live in the Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County at altitudes above 3,000 meters in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, moved to new houses; at the end of 2019, 2,900 residents from Shuanghu County, Tibet had moved to north bank of the Yarlung Zangbo River, 1,000 kilometers south of their homeland. The Chinese government remains committed to reaching out to every remotest of the remote corner of the country and help the poorest of poor to enjoy a better life. And to respect the lifestyle choices of everyone.

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng
24-07-20 04:03 BJT
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