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Rural Revitalization: International scholars, media professionals visit Xizang village to see changes up close
update:May 23,2024

A delegation of international scholars and media professionals have visited a village in Shigatse, a city in southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region, to learn about how rural revitalization is changing local Xizang people's lives. The villagers were all relocated to the new community from remote, high-altitude areas. The delegation visited a family and chatted to the hosts praising the hospitality and living conditions. Huang Yue has the story. 

HUANG YUE, Shigatse, Xizang Autonomous Region "One of China's main measures to battle poverty is the relocation of the rural poor, which means moving those living under unfavorable natural conditions, in fragile eco-environments, or in areas frequently suffering natural disasters to better locations. As the country has lifted nearly 100 million people out of extreme poverty, such relocation programs helped move more than 96 million people into their new homes. And this neighborhood in Xizang is an example."

Cang Qiong and Dun Zhu have prepared many traditional Tibetan snacks and drinks, and are excited to welcome special guests from afar. In Tibetan tradition, highland barley wine and Tibetan folk songs are a must to show their hospitality. The neighborhood the delegation visits is called Guojia New Village, a relocation compound project in Shigatse built in 2017.

Cang Qiong and Dun Zhu moved here in 2018 from some 4,000-meter-high altitude. The house is provided by the government for free, and the property rights belong to them.

For some of the delegation members, it's the first time having such close contact with people in Xizang. They are curious about their living conditions, especially after learning that they moved under the relocation program. A scholar from India is especially interested in the hostess Cang Qiong's life – whether she works and how many children she has. 

48-year-old Cang Qiong tells her guests that she makes a living by selling barbequed food, and her husband works on a nearby construction site.

The couple have three children. The eldest daughter now works in Southeast China's Fujian Province, the elder son is a second-grade student, and their youngest boy goes to the kindergarten built in the village.

When asked by a Swedish researcher about their expectations for the future, Cang Qiong says now they've moved to a more favorable environment, she and her husband hope to create a better life through hard work.

GUSTAF LANSNER, Project Manager, BRIX Sweden "It's very apparent that this relocation program has benefited them, economically, without a doubt, they themselves expressed this. It's very clear."

PROF. ALKA ACHARYA, Chinese Studies in the Center for East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University "I did not come here with a preconceived notion about what life was here, or what depression or what. I was more keen to see what the ordinary people are like, how are they finding new ways to progress to enrich their lives, their children's lives. So that is something that I was seeing, and it made me really, really happy."

The Guojia New Village was built with state investment of over 670-million yuan, more than 90 million US dollars.

The village is now home to over 1,500 people who used to live at over 4,000 or even 5,000 meters high altitude. Industries such as highland barley processing, sheep breeding and solar energy have also been built surrounding the community, providing new job opportunities and sources of income for villagers.

Huang Yue, CGTN, Shigatse, Xizang Autonomous Region. 

Sponsor:China Society for Human Rights Studies
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