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Villagers' wages boosted with tourism investment

By Yuan Shenggao | China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-28 07:30
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Chixi village in Fujian province sets a model for poverty alleviation. [Photo by Liu Chaochao/For China Daily]

Chixi village in Fujian province used to house around 280 residents four decades ago, but now it is embracing new development after a local campaign to tackle poverty.

In 2015, the local government selected the village as a demonstration project to alleviate poverty, and a year later, it rolled out policies to rejuvenate tourism.

Last year, their efforts were paid back by a per capita net income of 16,640 yuan ($2,410) and a collective income of 800,000 yuan for the village.

Showing his house to visitors, 72-year-old villager Li Xianru said: "The first floor is the storefront, on the second floor are the hall and the kitchen, on the third floor is the bedroom, and the balcony is on the fourth floor."

"In front of the door is the street and behind the house is a park. Living here is just like living in the city," he said.

In the past, Li lived in Xiashanxi, a smaller village in Chixi "hanging" on the mountainside at the latitude above 1,000 meters. "Life used to be too harsh for me," Li said.

In 1995, 22 people from the She ethnic group in Xiashanxi were relocated to new homes in the central area of Chixi village.

Over the next 20 years, more than 350 She people from 12 smaller villages were moved to the area and into spacious new houses.

The next step was to dig into the abundant local resources for tourism, local officials said.

After setting up extra traffic lanes, Taimu Mountains, a 5A-level tourism spot famous for its steep peaks and spectacular rocks, attracts countless visitors every year from all over the country.

In 2017, the tourism income of the whole village totaled 12.27 million yuan.

The surge of tourism has led to the development of local agriculture, such as fruit, tea and freshwater aquaculture.

Last year, the income of agriculture in Chixi village reached 15.36 million yuan, and the number of families with annual income of more than 100,000 yuan reached 150, accounting for 37 percent of village households.

In 2018, Chixi village was listed as a pilot area of complete rural reform in China. It has been planned to build Chixi into a model village for the national strategy of rural revitalization over the next three years.

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