China’s Yunnan Province brings prosperity to once impoverished border villages

By Xu Yuanfeng, People’s Daily
From getting rid of poverty to marching towards prosperity, Cishuyakou village, a once poor village along the southwestern border of China, has witnessed huge changes in the past few years.
The incidence of poverty in Cishuyakou village, located in Zhenkang county, Lincang, Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, was particularly high. Sixty out of the 76 households in the village were registered impoverished households, making the number of poor population to 267.
Though the village was haunted by poverty, it stands at a crucial location. Zhenkang county shares a 96-kilometer borderline with Myanmar’s Kokang, and Cishuyakou, the southwestern village of the county, is only 40m to 50m away from the Myanmar territory.
Thanks to China’s efforts to vitalize border regions and improve the life of local residents, Cishuyakou village has continuously ameliorated its conditions.
However, it was targeted poverty alleviation that had brought drastic changes to the village. In 2019, all impoverished residents in the village were lifted out of poverty. With nearly 200 hectares of walnuts, nuts, vegetables, and traditional herbs, the village’s per capita net income reached 15,195 yuan.
It now enjoys housing and drinking water safety, and is paved with hardened roads. Besides, the whole village is covered by 4G network.
However, the village set out to achieve more. In July 2019, Lincang issued a plan for making border villages prosperous, which led to new opportunities for Cishuyakou village.
With great border sceneries, the village planned to build itself into a demonstration village of characteristic tourism. Starting from August 2019, it set sail on a new journey.
Based on the road network along the border, Zhenkang county has tailored development paths for each village, improved the living environment for residents and put into nearly 500 million yuan to help border villages achieve prosperity, introduced Peng Chunrui, deputy secretary of the Communist Party of China Zhenkang county committee.
A total of 9.21 million yuan was invested to improve the infrastructure of Cishuyakou village. The village started to attract tourists even before it completed the infrastructure upgrade, receiving several hundred visitors on a daily basis during the National Day holiday last October.
The swarming tourists stimulated the agritainment business in the village. Applying for a 100,000-yuan entrepreneur loan from the bank, villager Yang Decai opened an agritainment farm. His farm generates a turnover of 1,000 to 2,000 yuan per day, receiving several dozens of visitors, said Zhang Shurong, Yang’s wife. Yang has 40,000 yuan of loan due this year, but the man said it’s not a problem.
About 11 households in Cishuyakou village now run agritainment farms, convenient stores and hotels. The villagers have also built two pick-your-own farms to attract more visitors. Besides, the village plants fruit, crops and traditional herbs. Many villagers also work outside the village, which further diversified the channels of income for the villagers.
On April 30, Yunnan Province launched a program to build border villages into demonstration villages exemplifying a moderately prosperous society in all respects. It aims to build 30 such demonstration villages in the province within this year, focusing on industrial development, culture and tourism, ecological livability, cross-border trade and neighborly relations. The province will invest no less than 10 million yuan into each of the villages.
From poverty to prosperity, more and more border villages in Yunnan are becoming well-off like Cishuyakou.

A poverty alleviation cadre talks with local farmers in Cishuyakou village. Photo by Li Jianjun/People’s Daily Online

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