China beefs up efforts in rural poverty reduction
Updated: 2006-10-06 10:53

"We villagers now can drink clean tap water as urban residents do," said Zhao Caihong, with a broad smile on her face. "We used to fetch water from rivers that were often contaminated with the livestock's excrement and urine."

Zhao is also happy and contented that her family moved last year from an old shanty into a big new one, benefiting from a government-funded house renovation project.

Zhao and some 250 other families live in an outlying mountain village called Shangping, in Xihaigu region, the poorest part of northwest China's underdeveloped Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

One year ago, much like so many other poverty-stricken villages in the country, it still suffered from low family incomes, poor transportation conditions and a shortage of clean drinking water.

However, things have begun changing as the government focuses more on the vast rural areas.

"Last year alone the government poured 1.2 million yuan (about 150,000 U.S. dollars) into improving our infrastructure and training and encouraging villagers to find jobs in cities," said Wang Dianzhong, head of the village committee.

The village used part of the funds to build a new dirt road, which winds through surrounding mountains to the outside world. Families with televisions can watch eight channels of programs since microwave antennae were installed in their homes.

Shangping, like other outlying and poor villages across the country, is beginning to share the outcome of China's galloping growth.


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