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Ambitious village head goes all out to enrich hometown

By Li Hongyang | China Daily | Updated: 2022-10-06 07:51
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Pei Chunliang (Center) talks with villagers of Peizhai in Huixian city, Henan province, on Sept 8. [Photo/Xinhua]

In a small village hidden amid the mountains, it is rare to see a sprawling and wide commercial street lined with stores, banks, supermarkets, restaurants and bakeries. But for Peizhai, that is exactly what was envisioned for it by the village's Party secretary Pei Chunliang.

Pei is a delegate to the upcoming 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

The residents of the small village in the city of Huixian, Henan province, had lived in poverty until Pei, then a local entrepreneur, took over the position as Party secretary and devoted his earnings and energy to improving people's lives.

Now, 17 years after taking up his post, the village of Peizhai is prospering.

In contrast, in the 2000s, Peizhai had about 590 people with an average per capita annual income of 1,000 yuan ($140.50). Now it has 11,800 residents, with each earning 20,000 yuan on average a year.

"I am a child of a farmer who grew up thanks to support from my fellow villagers from my hometown," the 52-year-old said. When he was 12 years old, his two older brothers were involved in accidents and died and his parents both became ill.

As he didn't graduate from junior high school, Pei began to do odd jobs to support his family. He used to work at a barber shop, a photo studio, a restaurant and later started a variety of businesses from mechanical casting to hotels and mining.

In 2005, the village began electing its own officials. The villagers asked Pei to run for election in the hope that he could help them have a better life and no longer have to live in adobe houses, drink unclean water or commute on dusty roads.

After he was elected, Pei donated 30 million yuan for the construction of new cottages for the villagers, and he invested in water diversion irrigation projects and built the Peizhai reservoir.

He found that people can be contented with a little wealth, and so he pushed for the development of local industries.

Pei managed to collect funds from various parties to establish a cement company and built a garment industrial park to tackle employment problems.

In addition, he proposed a five-year plan of rural vitalization for the village's further development.

The current plan includes the construction of a Peizhai industrial park covering an area of 133 hectares, focusing on building an industry around potatoes, their planting, cultivation, harvesting, processing and sales.

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