Small village sets an example for China’s rural revitalization
Remote revolutionary base now renowned well-off place
Published: Mar 01, 2023 11:44 PM
Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Hundreds of hiking enthusiasts living in the Yangtze River Delta Region got to experience new hiking routes in the Siming Mountain area on Tuesday as the Siming Mountain, China Red Travel Festival kicked off in Hengkantou village in Yuyao, East China's Zhejiang Province. 

Once an underdeveloped, remote revolutionary base, Hengkantou village has become a renowned well-off village by taking advantage of revolution-based tourism, utilizing green resources and expanding its specialized organic agriculture. As one of the eight "future village" pilots in the Ningbo area, it plays a prominent pioneering and exemplary role. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping, then secretary of the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, visited the village in 2003 and encouraged the villagers to shake off poverty and strive to build a prosperous village as soon as possible.

The development of Hengkantou village is an impressive case of rural revitalization during which local Party organizations and members have led farmers out of poverty, helping them to build villages that are prosperous and well developed. 

From 2003 to 2017, a total of 150 million yuan ($21.83 million) was invested in the area to carry out repairs on the former Anti-Japanese Base in East Zhejiang and to expand the red tourism industry by building new tourist centers and supporting facilities, and promoting revolution-themed education programs. With new roads and a highway costing millions of yuan, the village thus became a popular scenic spot in China.

The annual per capita disposable income of Hengkantou villagers increased from less than 2,700 yuan in 2003 to 27,568 yuan in 2017, a 10-time increase. The annual per capita disposable income in the village jumped to 47,108 yuan in 2022, another significant increase of 71 percent compared with the 2017 figure.

As the Chinese saying goes, "a flower blooming alone is not spring; a hundred flowers blooming together means real spring." In the same way, local Party organizations never forget the mission of creating common prosperity for the whole society.

Hengkantou village and eight surrounding villages make up the Hengkantou Hongfeng common prosperity alliance, which launched a cross-village tourism and research travel train route and developed a large-scale regional agricultural cluster to drive the surrounding areas to achieve common prosperity.

"Of course I'm happy to see the tourism train carrying travelers past my village, which gives us the possibility to get richer," a woman in her 50s in a neighboring village told the Global Times.

Their efforts expanded from villages to provinces, reaching Sanhe village in the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Southwest China's Sichuan Province. Sanhe villagers lifted themselves out of poverty by 2020. Currently, the Hengkantou and Sanhe villages have a pairing assistance agreement and have also reached a number of cooperation agreements on Party organization leadership, agricultural product sales and cultural exchanges.

Besides capitalizing on traditional agriculture and red tourism, and generating income from local culinary culture, Party members and villagers have continued to pursue new ways to innovate and upgrade the village's development. Wang Wenyan is a pioneer among them. 

"I hope farmers can be proud of being a farmer, as traditionally it was not regarded as a decent career. I used to be labeled as a professional in overseas tourism and TCM sectors; now I want to label myself as a new farmer who is doing a wonderful job," Wang told the Global Times.

"I have been to more than 70 countries in the past 20 years and I found great villages and farmers in countries like Japan and the UK. I believe my hometown Lianglong can also be a pleasant livable place and China can also have great farming and farmers."

Wang is now trying organic farming and running a "bed and breakfast" business in her hometown. She hopes that her previous experience will help her communicate more with overseas industry insiders and promote the "new Chinese farmers" concept overseas.