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Three Gorges Emigrants Content With Their Lives

When he was resettled from Chongqing’s Yunyang County to Shanghai’s Chongming Island last year, Liu Tao wasn’t sure about his future.

“What shall I do to support my family?” Liu asked himself. He knew little farming, one of the few ways to make a living on Chongming.

Now, Liu isn’t worried. He is growing oranges, potatoes and watermelons on two contracted hectares in Xinle village.

“Under the guidance of local farmers, I expect to earn more than 3,000 yuan (US$361) just from growing potatoes this year,” he said. “Next, I plan to set up a large orchard to grow oranges and peaches.”

“We made some sacrifice to support the Three Gorges Project, but the country repays us more,” he added.

City government reported that most of the 639 people resettled from the Three Gorges area have become accustomed to their new life on Chongming Island during the past year, including an emigrant woman who married a local man during Spring Festival and another three emigrant women who have become engaged.

“The situation of the emigrants is much better than we had expected,” said Vice Mayor Feng Guoqin. “I haven’t received any complaints from the new settlers except a letter from a woman who wanted to return to her hometown because she had a quarrel with her husband.”

City officials also disclosed that an additional 3,000 emigrants from the Three Gorges area will soon be resettled in Shanghai.

They will arrive July 7 to 28 by ship and are to be relocated in Jinshan District and Fengxian, Nanhui and Chongming counties. The city is fully prepared to welcome the new arrivals, officials said.

Representatives of the 129 settlers of Sanxing town called on the new emigrants to depend on themselves, not the government, to make a living.

With the help of local officials and residents, many of the first group of emigrants have found their own way to earn more money, officials said.

According to statistics, the new settlers grew 34.5 hectares of wheat and rape, 11 hectares of fruit trees like oranges, grapes and seven hectares of vegetables and melons.

Among them, eight people succeeded in producing agricultural products in a large scale.

Apart from those who took up agriculture, 96 people are working in local enterprises or are self-employed, accounting for 25 percent of the 390-member labor force. Two women will soon be sent by the county’s labor organization to work abroad in Mauritius.

“Now I earn more than 1,000 yuan every month by making clothes and selling cloth,” said Zhou Shiju, who opens a clothes shop in Jiahe Village.

Officials said 628 new residents, 98.2 percent of the total, have joined the medical insurance program.

Also, when the 177 emigrant students first went to school last year, 53.6 percent had below average marks in Chinese, 58.2 percent in math and 83.8 percent in English. Now, the proportion dropped to 41.7 percent, 46.2 percent and 75.8 percent, respectively, the officials said.

(eastday.com.cn 06/29/2001)

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