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Model village to teach others how to improve
By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-16 05:29

JIANGYIN, Jiangsu: Huaxi Village in East China's Jiangsu Province, supposedly the richest village in China, is to train 50,000 village leaders from all over the country in order to improve their leadership skills.

According to Sun Haiyan, deputy secretary of Huaxi Village Communist Party Committee, the programme will start this March.

His village will train 10,000 village leaders from provinces across the country every year during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) in order to share with them Huaxi's experience.

Huaxi, which has been the country's richest village since 2000, has been designated by the central government as a model village.

Its experience in economic and cultural development has been much publicized during the past few years.

"We will pay for all their accommodation and training expenses. Our sole goal is to help more villages in China develop faster," said Sun.

Currently more than 6,000 village leaders have sent in their applications, according to Sun.

"We will select the proper candidates together with the local organization bureaux. We will give priority to leaders from western China and women," Sun said.

Meng Wen'an, the leader of Shayang Village in Jiangsu Province, is among the 6,000 initial applicants.

Meng has visited Huaxi several times every year since 1999 and has already implemented several of its policies in his own village.

"The methods have worked and improved the life of our villagers," said Meng with excitement. "So I want to learn more."

According to Sun, the training programme mainly is about Huaxi's own experience in township enterprise management, village administration and profit allocation.

Lectures given by experts and discussions among leaders are also part of the programme.

"Communication is the most important part, so we can benefit from each other through interaction," said Sun.

He said it was the first time that Huaxi had provided systematic training to other villager leaders, although it has long been helping others.

Ever since 1995, Huaxi has sent experienced villagers and financial support to about 200 poor villages in Heilongjiang Province, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region to help facilitate their development, according to Sun.

With pillar industries such as steel, textiles and tourism, Huaxi Village generated a total of 30 billion yuan (US$3.6 billion) in 2005.

The fact that every family lives in a villa, owns at least one car and people live in harmony has impressed many visitors from both home and abroad.

The village, covering an area of 0.96 square kilometres, has a population of 1,520. In 2004, the annual income per capita in Huaxi was around 120,000 yuan (US$15,000), while the national average income per farmer was 2,900 yuan (US$362). A city dweller earned on average 9,400 yuan (US$1,175).

In addition to village leaders, experts are also showing an interest in Huaxi's training programme.

"It's a good opportunity to bring together village leaders from all over the country," said Lu Jun, an expert in regional economics at Peking University.

But Lu warned that other village leaders should not blindly copy the Huaxi model.

"Huaxi's miracle needs many special conditions, and the model also has some shortcomings in its election system and enterprise management.

"Therefore, other villages should choose the methods which are suitable to their own situations," said Lu.

(China Daily 01/16/2006 page3)

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