Village that was site of fierce combat fights to escape poverty

By Wang Yujia Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/8 18:23:40

The new community in Liulaozhuang village Photo: Wang Yujia/GT

Liulaozhuang, a village in Huai'an, East China's Jiangsu Province, witnessed a fierce battle against the Japanese Army 76 years ago during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-45). Eighty-two Chinese soldiers died in the battle there.

Despite its renowned reputation as a historic battlefield, the village had long been plagued by poverty, as the village did not have a single enterprise until a decade ago.

Party paves way for future

The situation changed in 2009 when Zhu Lin, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the village, vowed to make the village more prosperous. In 2009, the village established an engineering construction enterprise, and CPC members in the village raised 1.2 million yuan ($185,000) for the company's startup and machine procurement.

The move brought the village an annual income of more than 1 million yuan and created more job opportunities, after all the debt was paid off within one year.

In 2010, the village allocated more than 66 hectares of land to attract investment, and introduced a batch of agricultural enterprises including Minfeng Edible Fungus Technology Co Ltd and a seedlings company, which created more profit and job opportunities for villagers.

Mushroom in Minfeng Edible Fungus Technology Co Ltd cultivated by local residents of Liulaozhuang village Photo: Wang Yugang/GT

"I love my job. It's convenient to work in my hometown and I get paid every day based on my daily performance," a villager surnamed Wang told the Global Times. Wang works for the edible fungus company.

"My brother and sister are working for the company in Liulaozhuang too," Wang said with pride showing on his face.

"With 58 Party members in our village, we hold regular meetings for Party members and officials to make a work report on the 10th of every month at 8am without exception," said Zhu.

In Liulaozhuang, each Party member and five volunteers are responsible for the cultivation of a tree in the community and the sanitation and security of 10 households in the village. Additionally, they also help a low-income household to get rid of poverty by making a development plan, seeking jobs and solving their practical problems.

Through grassroots Party building, the village shook off poverty with each resident earning an annual income of more than 20,000 yuan.

Xu Xiangrui, deputy secretary of the Party branch in Liulaozhuang, said, "Thanks to the Party building efforts, poverty alleviation succeeded in Liulaozhuang." The average annual net income of villagers in Liulaozhuang is five times what it was 10 years ago. "Poverty is no longer our label."

Enjoying life

Farmland transformation has guaranteed villagers' basic living, as they receive a land rent of 13,500 to 15,000 yuan per hectare every month, a salary of 2,000 yuan, some government subsidies and dividends from the land lease.

Villagers have moved into new communities matched with complete infrastructures including kindergartens, infirmaries, senior activity centers and fitness squares. 

In addition, a sewage process plant and waste transfer station have been built.

The village is currently establishing itself as a "red tourism" site called Past Time Farmhouse Resort, integrating a film base, an education base, a picking orchard and inns.

Children have fun at Past Time Farmhouse Resort. Photo: Wang Yujia/GT

Liulaozhuang's cemetery, where 82 martyrs are buried, has a history of 76 years. 

"I'm willing to work here to contribute my own strength to society. By telling the stories of the martyrs, I inspired tourists' patriotic enthusiasm," said Cao Jinmei, a volunteer at Liulaozhuang's martyr's cemetery, "When one child realized that our current life didn't come easily, I realized that my job was worth it."

"Liulaozhuang is my hometown. I know this place well and I love this place a lot," said Wang Xu, general manager of the Past Time Farmhouse Resort. 

"The pace of life should slow down. When you draw water from a well and listen to the cock crow, the nostalgic feeling will remind you of a Past Time."

From a previously poor area to today's "National Civilization Village" and "The Most Beautiful Village in Jiangsu Province", Liulaozhuang is an example of success in China's poverty alleviation efforts. Villagers enjoy higher incomes, enjoy better public services and pass on the patriotic spirit.
Newspaper headline: Battle for prosperity


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