My Chinese Dream fulfilled in the country’s constant progress: village official
Published: Dec 28, 2022 11:37 PM
Editor's Note:

A decade ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, put forward the Chinese Dream which envisages the brilliant future of the Chinese nation. The Chinese Dream is about pursuing strength of the country, rejuvenation of the nation and happiness of the people. Over the decade under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi at the core, Chinese people have made unremitting efforts and taken great strides toward realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation while enjoying tangible benefits from a prosperous and fast-growing country. In this series which tries to unpack the concept of the Chinese Dream through specific stories and anecdotes, the Global Times reporters talked to ordinary Chinese citizens - an aerospace engineer participating in the launch of China's first space station, a grassroots official dedicated to rural revitalization, an environmental warrior combating desertification in the Gobi desert, an artist promoting traditional Chinese culture, as well as a worker at a Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project overseas - to see how the Chinese Dream inspires the nation and the world. This is the second installment of the series. 

An aerial view of the new bridge in Dulongjiang Township,Southwest China's Yunnan Province Photo: VCG

An aerial view of the new bridge in Dulongjiang Township,Southwest China's Yunnan Province Photo: VCG

As a young grassroots official who fights at the frontline of poverty alleviation and rural revitalization, Yu Minghua, 33, has a busy work schedule. From daybreak till dusk, she spends her time speaking with villagers, helping them find ways to make a better living, promoting local specialties, and sometimes instructing villagers on how to maintain sanitation in their homes.

While fulfilling her duty could mean her often leaving her little daughter at home, Yu, deputy head of Dulongjiang Township, Southwest China's Yunnan Province, unswervingly stays true to her original aspiration - striving for a better life for local villagers. And her hard work paid off.

In 2018, the total rural economic income of Dulongjiang Township hit 28.599 million yuan ($4.23 million), and rural per capita net income was 6,122 yuan, up 23.5 percent year-on-year. Some 2,297 people from 611 households were lifted out of poverty. 

Thrilled by this poverty alleviation miracle, people in the Dulongjiang Township wrote a letter to inform President Xi Jinping that they had been lifted out of poverty as a whole and villagers were enjoying a better life.

Xi replied that he was very glad to hear the good news and congratulated the Dulong people on their success.

Located in Southwest China's Yunnan Province bordering Myanmar, Dulongjiang Township is the Dulong ethnic minority's ancestral home. The group has long suffered from extreme poverty and had initially been isolated from the outside world.

"I was extremely excited and my eyes were filled with tears when we received the reply letter from President Xi. Everyone who, at the time, worked in Dulongjiang Township knew how difficult it was to work here. Especially as an official stationed in the village, I knew very well that the results of poverty alleviation in Dulongjiang Township were hard-won," Yu told the Global Times. 

"President Xi's letter of reply showed that our work had received affirmation by the CPC Central Committee. The letter also encouraged us to aim for even better days in the future. This inspired me a lot to continue my work in rural revitalization," Yu said. 

According to Yu, the township has witnessed transformational changes with new roads and electrical wires being installed, which has greatly improved local people's livelihood. 

During the interview, the young grassroots official noted that she resonated strongly with the concept of the Chinese Dream. In her opinion, the Chinese Dream is "a dream shared by millions of Chinese people." 

"As young officials struggling at the grassroots level, we should integrate our dreams with the trend of the development of the country and stand firm in our convictions to serve the people. We can find our Chinese Dream fulfilled in our fight and in the constant progress of the country," Yu said. 

Reciprocated warmth 

In her interview, Yu couldn't help but gush over the remarkable changes the Dulongjiang Township has undergone in recent years. "Dulongjiang Township is now connected to the 35KV power supply grid, making frequent power cuts and signal cutoffs a thing of the past; a reinforced concrete bridge replaced the simple suspension bridge initially built in the township and is open to traffic; more than 85 percent of local households now own motor vehicles; More and more Dulong children have left the mountains to go to schools and work in bigger cities," revealed Yu. 

However, joy also came with hardship. Reflecting back on the path taken to achieve the current success, Yu still remembers vividly how hard she once had to persuade one household to work. 

"I was then responsible for a villagers' group. Every day after work, I would go to local villagers' homes to help them map out plans for poverty relief and do some cleaning. But there was one household whose family members were struggling with alcoholism and a resultant lassitude. When other villagers were busy with buying seedlings to expand planting, they just were reticent. I contacted a foreman at a construction site and mobilized them to work there. But no matter what I did, they were unwilling to work," Yu said, adding that she felt deeply concerned back then.

But she did not give up. She kept visiting the family and offered to lend them money to buy seedlings. 

Eventually she saw the changes in that particular household. They bought seedlings and went to work. "I was moved the moment I saw them carrying a bag of the seedlings. I felt as though my tireless work had finally had some effect on them," she said. 

In addition to creating work opportunities, Yu's work has also included improving the living conditions of the villagers. At the time, Yu would go to each household to teach them the basics of housekeeping. 

"Sometimes, I even taught them how to organize wardrobes, clean sofas, and make the bed step by step. One of the households would just watch me clean and refuse to do the work. They even questioned me on how cleaning increases one's income and why it has to be done daily. 'Besides, I didn't ask you to clean up for me.' I was angry when I heard this and decided not to talk to them anymore," Yu said.

But some days later, when Yu saw a video promoting rural tourism, she, again, visited the family. She showed them the video and encouraged them to clean and furnish their home so that they could receive tourists.

"To my surprise, they listened to my words. Even now, due to the situation with the epidemic and even though they cannot receive tourists, they still clean their home and keep it tidy," Yu said.    

In addition to giving, Yu felt the warmth extended by the villagers as well. In the past, the village where Yu was stationed often had blackouts during the winter, so they had to cook by firewood. 

One day in December she asked in a group chat whether anyone had the firewood to sell. Shortly after, she saw a pile of firewood in front of her house, with a note saying "To Yu" and no name. "This kind gesture touched me a lot," she said. 

After the poverty alleviation work was successfully concluded, Yu's work focus has now shifted to rural revitalization and how to maintain the bottom line by not allowing the vulnerable to slide back into poverty. Yu is paired by Kongdang village, Dulongjiang Township. 

Currently, the Kongdang village has an actively developed collective economic model. This year, the village's construction company undertook 6 projects with an estimated investment of 20.5 million yuan, covering 6 administrative villages in Dulongjiang Township, creating 294 local jobs and paying 1.968 million yuan in total wage payment. 

"My expectation for the future is that Dulongjiang Township will get better and better, and more and more Dulong children will be able to leave the mountains to see the outside world. As for myself, I hope I can have more time to spend with my family," she said.