Across China: Young village cadres lead rural vitalization

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ZHENGZHOU, May 4 (Xinhua) -- An increasing number of college graduates and young entrepreneurs in China have become village Party cadres in the country's rural vitalization drive.

Wang Shaojun, 27, was cooking snapping turtle in front of a livestreaming camera. While displaying his superb cooking skills, he was also promoting his village of Dachenzhuang in central China's Henan Province.

As the village Party chief, one of his primary tasks is helping his fellow villagers sell the snapping turtles they breed. By making food videos, he hopes he can help turtle farmers expand their sales and expose more people to snapping turtle dishes.

Becoming a food vlogger had never been among his career goals. He graduated from Wuhan-based Huazhong Agricultural University as an economic management major in 2016, and began his career in a bank. Two years later, he signed up for the civil service exam and was recruited by the government of Zhangtao Township. In 2019, he volunteered and was selected as a young cadre to lead Party work in the village.

"Turtle breeding was initially started by returning young entrepreneurs. Two batches have been sold totaling more than 300,000 yuan (about 46,500 U.S. dollars). There are still more than 3,000 turtles left, which can bring an expected net profit of up to 300,000 yuan this year," he said.

Dachenzhuang was a provincial-level poverty-stricken village. There was also a serious feud between two big families, which made it difficult to carry out work in the village.

After assuming office, Wang led other village cadres to clean up garbage pits in the village and mobilized villagers to clean their own yards. The village has thus taken on a new look. Then he built roads, reconciled conflicts among the villagers, and expanded the market for turtle farmers, which won the trust of the villagers.

In January, he was elected as the director of the village committee.

According to the organization department of the Communist Party of China Henan provincial committee, 918 new village Party chiefs appointed this year were born after 1990, over 80 percent of whom are college graduates, industry pioneers, returning entrepreneurs and retired soldiers.

Huang Yana, born in 1990, was afraid to browse through WeChat when she came to work in the village.

"Many of my classmates posted updates on their cosmopolitan life in big cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen. But I was accompanied by chickens and dogs," Huang said.

Having graduated from Wuhan University, she was the first female Party chief and committee director of Fenggang Village, Henan.

Seven years ago, she married her husband and followed him to his home village. Upon assuming office, she visited all 136 households to learn about their specific needs.

During the past year, 36 tap water pipelines and four irrigation wells were repaired, 102 solar street lamps were installed thanks to her fundraising campaigns, natural gas was accessible to every household, and the main road in the village was repaired.

In a WeChat group joined by more than 200 villagers, anyone can message her at any time whenever they need help.

"I have grown up a lot. Seeing my fellow villagers greet me and smile at me, I feel that I have found my own self-worth," she said. "I no longer feel that the village is small. There is instead a vast world here."

The traditional grape planting industry in the village needs to be upgraded, the greenhouse vegetable industry needs to be expanded, and the village environment needs to be improved... These are the tasks Huang will tackle next.

The increasing number of migrant workers from rural areas in central China once led to the phenomenon of "hollow villages," in which young people went out to work, leaving behind only the elderly and children.

In recent years, with the transfer of industry to the central and western regions and the success of the national poverty alleviation campaign, the rural economy has gradually developed, and more and more young people have chosen to return and discover their self-worth in the countryside.

"The countryside in China is becoming more beautiful. The prospects of working in rural areas are getting better. I believe that more young people will return to their hometowns and start businesses," Wang said. Enditem

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