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Shibadong village: where targeted poverty alleviation began
Friday, July 19, 2019

BEIJING, July 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report by on Shibadong Village, an example of China's targeted poverty alleviation:

In the mountains of western Hunan sits Shibadong, a village with rich ethnic charm. The Miao people living there celebrate their festivals by playing on swings, playing the sheng (a traditional Chinese reed instrument), performing dragon dances, and singing folk songs. They wear embroidered Miao costumes and eat wild vegetables and cured meat. They might not have foreseen that their long-standing traditional culture and lifestyle would one day become their way out of poverty.

Owing to its location deep in the mountains, sources of income in the village are limited. This, coupled with the harsh agricultural conditions there, meant that the village was mired in poverty. In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the village and put forward the concept of targeted poverty alleviation for the first time. Since then, the village has undergone dramatic changes.

The village started by creatively developing industries with local characteristics. Miao embroidery cooperatives, for example, were formed as urbanization gathered pace and the village's youths left for the cities. In these cooperatives, "left-behind women" could find jobs on their doorstep. Since the village had too many residents for its land size, villagers began to think "outside of Shibadong." They built sprawling plantations of high-quality kiwi fruit in nearby villages and towns. Fruit companies were set up to sell the products they grew directly to Hong Kong and Macao. More than 300 villagers found jobs in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, places partnered with Shibadong to help its fight against poverty. A spring water plant was built on outside investment. The plant's profits are shared among local villagers.

In view of its local conditions and resources, the village has decided on six major industries: crop cultivation, livestock breeding, Miao embroidery, labor service export, rural tourism, and mountain spring water.

In addition, the village has organized various campaigns to stop the reliance of impoverished villagers on their poverty for easy benefits. Meanwhile, public utilities have been improved, with all of the village's households now enjoying better kitchens, toilets, and access to tap water and electricity.

The once poverty-stricken village has now changed beyond all recognition. In February 2017, all of its 533 impoverished residents were lifted out of poverty. The net per capita income grew sixfold between 2013 and 2018. Shibadong was even named one of China's Most Beautiful Villages for Leisure last year.

The triumph of Shibadong village over poverty is both a credit to China's approach of targeted poverty alleviation and an example of the fight against poverty at a village level. The 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China this year is just one year away from China's planned completion of its poverty eradication plan. The village's targeted policies and emphasis on tapping into local potential rather than relying solely on outside help are inspirational to not only other parts of the country but also the global fight against poverty.

China Mosaic
Shibadong village: where targeted poverty alleviation began

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