City tastes success with salt of the earth

By Huang Zhiling and Tao Xiaoli | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-02-03 07:50
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A pavilion at the lantern show in Zigong, Sichuan province. [PHOTO BY LIU LANYING/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Viewing lanterns became a Spring Festival custom in Zigong during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).The city's lantern show has been held in more than 70 countries and regions around the world, becoming a calling card of both Zigong and China.

However, the popular show originated from the city's economic plight in the 1980s.

Before the Sixth Five-Year Plan (1981-85), Zigong's economy, dominated by the salt industry, exceeded the national economic growth rate and made it Sichuan's third largest industrial city.

But its overreliance on a single product became a problem by the late '80s. Salt output in Hunan and Hubei provinces rose sharply and some other cities and counties in Sichuan started producing their own salt.

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