Breaking clay vats to destroy poverty

发布时间: 2016-04-11 10:03:00  |  来源: Xinhua  |  作者: 焦梦  |  责任编辑: 焦梦
关键词: China,poverty,destroy,

Yang Xiaoping has long wished to smash his six vats.

Since as long as he could remember, the pottery containers had been there, storing the precious water for his family in Yeliguan Mountain in the northwestern province of Gansu.

There is no tap water in the drought and poverty-ridden mountain, so villagers rely on men in the family to manually carry water from a spring a mile away. Each trip would take over an hour of trekking on the rugged mountain roads. It took days to fill the six vats.

The family skimped on every drop of water. During Yang's childhood, there was no bath or laundry and their dehydrated farms produced little, trapping his family in a cycle of hardship.

"We prayed to the heaven and dug the earth for food. Poverty greeted us everyday, like the sunrise and sunset," the 44-year-old farmer said.

It was a different story outside the mountain. The pristine natural beauty has drawn in tourists in recent years, improving the lives of residents living in flatter areas. But the winding mountain paths insulate Yang's village from the prosperity elsewhere.

Not that they have not considered moving out. Yang recalled his father, after drinking some wine, often lit a cigarette and murmured: "We must move out." But with no land or money to start a business outside the mountain, such thoughts vanished as quick as the cigarette smoke.

The elder Yang faithfully transported water for the family throughout his life, until he tumbled into a ditch on one trip and suffered a fatal injury. On his deathbed, he passed the vats to the son.

In 2008, Yang left for a construction job in a nearby city hoping to improve his family's financial situation. After two months at work, his wife sent an urgent message: the vats had dried up.

Yang took a leave of several days to travel back home and fill the vats. When he did it a second time months later, he got fired.

His next job as a security guard also failed because of the vats' constant interruption. Disheartened, Yang returned home and gave up the idea of working in the city.

So when several officials approached him in 2014 for a government-led campaign to eradicate poverty, Yang's response was tepid. But the new policy, which relocates destitute families like Yang's to a new village near a tourist spot, quickly got his attention. Apart from better living conditions, the government promised to help new settlers open restaurants and inns to profit from the booming tourism.

Yang decided to give a final thrust. With all his savings, government subsidies and bank loans, he built a home inn in the new settlement and moved his entire family there in 2015.

In March, the couple was buzzing around cleaning their rooms, and their son worked as a chef at the inn after undergoing government-funded job training. Days ago, they received their first guests.

Yang remembered before abandoning their shabby old hut, he smashed the six vats to smithereens with a hoe.

"I've long wished to do that," Yang told Xinhua reporters.

Between 2013 and 2015, the province of Gansu resettled 476,000 people out of mountains, deserts and other inhospitable areas. Many of them had lived in extreme poverty as their out-of-the-way locations excluded them from the nationwide modernization drive.

To fulfill China's promise of wiping out poverty by 2020, many provinces have proposed relocation for those unlikely to be benefited by traditional poverty relief. That means millions of families will migrate, shrugging off generations of deprivation.

China still has about 55 million rural population who live below the country's poverty line of 2,300 yuan (355 U.S. dollars) in annual income.