A Chinese village cadre has led her fellow villagers to a wealthier life thanks to her efforts in promoting forestation campaigns over the past years.
The village cadre Shen Tengxiang is the Party chief of Nankeng village, Changting county in southeast China’s Fujian province.
When she married into her husband’s family in Nankeng village 32 years ago, Changting was still suffering the severest soil erosion in southern China.
However, Shen, together with her fellow villagers, has turned the village into a famous site of eco-tourism, raising annual per capita income of the locals to over 16,800 yuan ($2,503), up from less than 600 yuan in 1996.
Shen became very proud when sharing the achievements.
22 years ago, she began working on the control of soil erosion, leading her fellow villagers to plant trees on the hills. The Party members and cadres were the first batch to plant the saplings, with each one planting on an area of 0.33 hectare. As the chief of the Party branch of Nankeng village, Shen covered 1.33 hectares alone.
Hard work forever pays. The vegetation gradually expanded on the hills of Nankeng village, from points to blocks, and finally achieved full coverage.
Pointing to the trees in the distance, Shen told People’s Daily that the hills would make a sea of golden leaves in autumn.
A couplet was hung on a pavilion of the village to praise her efforts and contribution.
What these trees have brought is not only greenness, but also profits, as some smart villagers tried to grow watermelons under the trees.
Yuan Tingyun was one of them. He once earned more than 10,000 yuan through the watermelons he harvested. “My wife and I even cried with joy when we counted the money, since we had never seen such a thick stack,” he recalled.
In recent years, Shen attracted a large number of investments to the village. A donation of over 1.3 million yuan was made by a couple living in Xiamen, capital of Fujian province.
However, Shen is quite cautious in using the capital. She often invites highly respected senior villagers for supervision.
Paying high attention to the overall economic development of the village, Shen introduced gingko trees to create more profits while maintain ecology. Now, the gingko trees, which form unique scenery of the village, are attracting a number of visitors.
Shen disclosed that she was planning to build a nursing home to make better use of the eco-environment of the village.
Home care services for the elderly may take as much as four to five thousand yuan per month for a family, she said, explaining that her plan to build a nursing home would not only relieve social pressure, but also generate profits for the village.
Shen Tengxiang (Left) plants trees with villagers. (Photo by Qiu Jiarui from People’s Daily Online)