Home > News > Related News >

Rural people's lives change for the better
update:October 04,2022
Tongde displays his music player to friends. XU HAOYU/CHINA DAILY
Thousands of locals play vital roles in safeguarding Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Located in the heart of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in southern Qinghai province, Sanjiangyuan (Three-River-Source) National Park, which stretches for 123,100 square kilometers, is the first and largest national park in China.
Since the pilot program for the Sanjiangyuan National Park management system was launched in 2016, more than 20,000 local residents have taken part in ecological management and protection work in the Sanjiangyuan area as part of a policy aimed at finding one job for each household.
Smiling broadly, Tongde, 44, a member of the Tibetan ethnic group from Madoi county, Qinghai province, who first joined a park patrol in 2013, said: "On the day I received my employee ID card and the armband that proves I'm officially a park custodian, I felt happy and thrilled to work as a protector of nature. This feeling has never faded, and remains to this day."
As the name hints, Sanjiangyuan is the birthplace of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers.
With an average altitude of more than 4,500 meters, Sanjiangyuan National Park is a broad and sparsely populated area with a low incidence of human activities. It is the perfect habitat for species such as the Tibetan antelope, Tibetan gazelle, the snow leopard, white-lipped deer and black-necked crane.
Due to vigilant patrols by local custodians, and a general increase in environmental awareness, vegetation in the area has risen by about 30 percent compared with 2000, according to local authorities.
Birds take off from a lake in Madoi county, Golog Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Qinghai. WANG ZHUANGFEI/XU HAOYU/CHINA DAILY
Another Tibetan custodian, Tashi, 51, joined the park patrols in 2016.
He said that as the custodians maintain a clean and safe environment on a daily basis and prevent the grassland from becoming strewn with rubbish, the grass looks lush and bright. The number of wild animals is also rising, as they are guaranteed a healthy food supply.
Another custodian, Paltse, 28, also from Madoi county, agrees with Tashi that local residents now live in a much-improved environment. "When I was a child, I didn't pay much attention to my surroundings when I grazed animals, but as I grew up, I slowly noticed the environment had improved," he said. "I think that Ngoring Lake looks bigger now, and the water is so clean you can scoop it up with your hands and drink it."
Tashi added that wild animals such as Tibetan donkeys used to hide from humans, but now the donkeys can be seen everywhere. Since hunting was banned in the area, the animals no longer turn and run like they used to.
Tashi has lost count of the animals he has seen during his patrols in recent years. "They now don't even blink when we walk within 100 meters of them," he said.
Tsering Gyal, 49, from Madoi county too, who has been a custodian for seven years, said he has gained more experience from his work.
"I was a little worried when I saw wild animals in the first few years. I had to fight the impulse to run away, as I was unarmed, but would have been arrested if I harmed them," he said.
He thinks that humans and animals are getting closer. "I stay calm now, as I'm sure that the animals have no interest in chasing and harming me," he added.
Animals are getting their freedom back, while custodians are making a stable income and have roofs over their heads.
Paltse wears a Tibetan robe, which he bought in the county town of Madoi, for important occasions. WANG ZHUANGFEI/CHINA DAILY
Tashi, who was born in Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Qinghai province, met his future wife in Golog Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Qinghai, over a decade ago. He settled on farmland, living in a tent with his wife, who later had two children. However, he only earned 4,000 yuan ($564) to 5,000 yuan a year from selling the 20 yaks and 100 sheep he raised, and sometimes had to work on construction sites to support the family.
There was no toilet in the tent, which proved particularly difficult in cold weather, which lasts for 11 months of the year on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
However, the situation changed in 2007, when herdsmen were encouraged to quit grazing their livestock to return the grassland to wild animals. The government subsidized those responding to this call.
With Tashi's family members each receiving an annual subsidy of 9,600 yuan, their cost-of-living burden has been greatly relieved. The family is also provided with a 95-square-meter urban apartment with free water and electricity.
Earning 1,800 yuan a month from his custodian job, plus medical insurance cover, the annual subsidy for stopping grazing and relocating to the county town, and his wife's income from her job as a doorkeeper at a local school and from selling handmade yogurt, the couple are happy with life.
"I can't describe how grateful I am. I don't have to worry about the wind and rain as much as I used to, and I can sit peacefully at home to appreciate the beautiful scenery," Tashi said.
Tongde enjoys beautiful furniture and listening to music, and his steady income as a custodian allows him to pursue both hobbies.
A Tibetan wild donkey stars straight at a photographer in the beautiful Sanjiangyuan area of Qinghai province. WANG ZHUANGFEI/XU HAOYU/CHINA DAILY
A music player, which looks brand-new, is embedded in a cabinet in Tongde's living room. He said he spent one month's salary buying the cabinet from a furniture shop in Golog prefecture in 2020, and he polishes it with great care every day.
"In the past, there was hardly any music in rural areas apart from the songs sung by myself and my friends. But now, I listen to music in my living room — it's magical," Tongde said.
Meanwhile, Paltse used to live in a village next to Gyaring Lake in Madoi, Golog prefecture, before moving to the county town in 2009. He has three children, ranging in age from 3 to 7.
A pika pokes its head out of a hole in the plains in the beautiful Sanjiangyuan area of Qinghai province. WANG ZHUANGFEI/XU HAOYU/CHINA DAILY
He said one of the main reasons he decided to move is the better standard of education in the county town. In the village, pupils started in the first grade when they were 10 or 11, but his children studied at kindergarten in Madoi when they were 3 or 4.
Paltse has never celebrated his birthday, as he was born to a poor farming family, but he now never forgets to buy a birthday cake for his children.
"I'm not disappointed that I didn't have a single birthday cake when I was a kid. But now, I want my kids to have what I didn't have," he said.
Tashi has a bigger dream. He hopes that his four children can be enrolled at universities before they return home to contribute to environmental protection and economic development in the area. As he spoke these words, he smiled, gazing into the distance at the grassland, the lake and his home.

  • Xi pays tribute to national heroes on Martyrs' Day
  • China's State Council holds National Day reception
  • Highland barley harvested in Bianlin, China's Tibet

E-mail:editor@tibetol.cn |About Us|Contact Us |Site Maps|
Address:3/F, C Tower, RECREO International Centre, 8 Wangjing East Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100102, PRC
Copyright by China Intercontinental Communication Co., Ltd All Rights Reserved.