Cliffside villagers step up to new homes and better lives

By Alexis Hooi and Huang Zhiling in Zhaojue, Sichuan | China Daily | Updated: 2020-07-09 08:05
Share - WeChat
Atuleer villager Mose Dati, 51, climbs down the metal ladder structure with his belongings to a new home in the county on May 13. JIANG HONGJING/XINHUA

Liao Yuchao, the deputy county head leading its anti-poverty push, said the approach is a multilevel, multipronged one rooted in the provision of basic infrastructure and services and the development of income channels that tap the county's geographical, economic advantages and other strengths.

"This is a targeted effort. We must ensure that our residents continue to contribute to the economy and be part of society," he said.

Tall order

Atuleer village, perched on a 1,400-meter-high cliff, drew widespread attention four years ago when a Chinese newspaper published photos of resident students going to classes by scaling a patchwork of mountainside rattan ladders stretching 800 meters. The treacherous trip was also the main way for villagers to get to the nearest market several kilometers away once a week to obtain basic necessities and sell crops such as Sichuan peppercorns and walnuts.

President Xi Jinping himself expressed concern about the villagers and their reliance on the rattan ladders during a discussion with National People's Congress deputies from Sichuan three years ago amid the annual two sessions in Beijing, after he came to know about the villagers' plight in a TV broadcast.

Xi said the whole process of poverty alleviation needed targeted policies and precise, detailed measures, similar to what went into making intricate embroidery. 

Click here to watch the video of "cliff village"

To help the villagers, the county and prefectural government had directed 1 million yuan ($141,000) to construct a handrailed, 2,556-stepped ladder made up of metal poles, making their climb safer and reducing their travel time to the nearest town by one-third to an hour.

Ake Jiushe, deputy head of the county's information department and author of a major book detailing the development of the village in recent years, said the improved climbing conditions have certainly been a step up for Atuleer's progress, with many tourists also heading to the area and contributing to the local economy.

The village is set to become an anchor point for local authorities' focus on developing rural tourism into a pillar industry, including a few households staying behind to offer food and lodging to visitors even as most villagers move out to better work and living conditions in Zhaojue.

"The improvements have been remarkable since Atuleer took the spotlight and we're looking ahead to the next steps in its development," Ake said.

|<< Previous 1 2 3 4 Next   >>|
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349