Across China: Village's winding path to prosperity

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GUIYANG, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- A winding asphalt road dotted with colorful dwellings winds its way down to the foot of a mountain through lush, green trees and what seems like a scene from a fairytale.

As visitors immerse themselves in the breathtaking scenery of Qier Village, few could imagine this place was notoriously known as "bandit land" three decades ago.

Qier, meaning "72" in Chinese, got its name from the 72 turns of National Highway 210 passing through it in the mountainous Tongzi County, southwest China's Guizhou Province.

The 7-km road section that used to be an ambush area for bandits now brings tourists as well as fortune, as the government has reinforced the rule of law and developed the rural tourism industry.


Over the last two decades of the 20th century, National Highway 210 as a major corridor in southwest China saw increasing freight traffic volume and passenger flows. But the complex terrain made vehicles and people passing through this area vulnerable to robbery.

"The slope and muddy road slowed trucks down, so we could climb up from the rear to rob them, mainly for rice and canned food," said Li Xun, 49, a former bandit from the village.

Li was sentenced to eight years in prison in 1989 and was released in 1994 following three-year mitigation.

Fang Yong, Party chief of the village, said during the worst period, young generations in the village committed robbery with their parents instead of going to school.

To avoid conflicts among themselves, villagers would claim different turns on the road, which caused some vehicles to be robbed several times on a single trip.

From 1993 to 2004, a total of 261 villagers were convicted of crimes, involving nearly half of the households in Qier Village.


Since 2006, the government of Tongzi County has rolled out a raft of measures to raise the awareness of the rule of law and rebuild the respect for law among the villagers, including door-to-door visits by village cadres for publicity activities.

"At the beginning, the villagers were resistant. Some villagers tore up the leaflets after they were posted," said Lou Gang, deputy Party chief of Dahe Township, which administers Qier Village.

To date, local cadres have organized over 1,000 activities to spread knowledge about the law, with a total of 36,000 participants.

Meanwhile, local governments started another battle -- fighting against poverty, which is believed to be the root cause of the crimes.

Because of limited farmland, the yearly output of grain could only support villagers for eight or nine months, forcing them to seek illegal ways to feed themselves, Li said.

Villagers were then encouraged to develop tourism, aquaculture and transportation.

The splendid mountainous landscape and forest coverage rate of over 85 percent provides the village with unique rural scenery and rich tourism resources. Excellent transport links and a location near Chongqing Municipality bring thousands of tourists to the small village.

With a subsidized bank loan, villager Li Degui converted his house into a homestay in 2016, adding 15 beds to receive tourists.

"Over the past six years, my family's per capita annual income has quadrupled to 12,000 yuan," he said, adding that his family was no longer listed as poor.

The village had a total of 53 homestays that can accommodate 3,500 tourists at the same time in 2019. With 20,000 tourists bringing a total tourism revenue of 7.95 million yuan (about 1.21 million U.S. dollars), the village saw the per capita net income exceed 12,000 yuan that year.

After years of efforts, the village has achieved the goals of zero violations of law, zero crimes and zero accidents for many years.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) convened a conference on work related to overall law-based governance this week.

"The goal of building a country, government and society based on the rule of law shall be basically achieved by 2035," according to a new development blueprint drawn up by the Party leadership for the country's march toward modernization.

Li Xun is now the manager of a labor service company which was set up by Qier village to help villagers find jobs.

"I'm confident about the future of our village as we have jobs to bring us fortune," he said. Enditem

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