The Official Website of the People’s Government of Hunan Province Mobile 中文 Francais 한국어 日本語

15 July 2015

Home>News>Coverage of Hunan from Global Sources

Feature: No Longer Poor, No Longer Single

2018-10-10 Download Print Comment
CHANGSHA, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- It was a rainy day in early autumn, and Shi Liujin was leading a team carrying a bridal sedan chair. He couldn't have been happier. He was getting married.
 
Shi's home village Shibadong, tucked away in remote mountains in central China's Hunan Province, was once an extremely impoverished village. Its per capita annual net income was just 1,668 yuan (240 U.S. dollars) in 2013, with 136 out of 225 households living below the poverty line.
 
There were more than 30 single men who were over 40 years old then. Non-local girls were reluctant to marry into the poor village.
 
Shi made an oath to find himself a wife three years ago at the village's first ever matchmaking event. He struck a gong while exclaiming "I am a good guy with a kind heart. Anyone who marries me must rest assured!"
 
Unfortunately, he failed.
 
His kindness is widely recognized among his fellow villagers. He dropped out of school and became a migrant worker to support family when his father fell ill 20 years ago. Years passed when his sisters graduated from schools and got married, and the family did better. He was entering his 40s.
 
"I used to see someone. But after visiting the village and my dilapidated home, she backed down," Shi said.
 
The villagers' committee realized poverty reduction could be a shortcut to helping single men start a family. Thanks to a string of targeted poverty alleviation policies, Shibadong has seen tremendous changes since 2014.
 
Muddy mountain passes became asphalt roads. Tap water ran into every household. ATM machines appeared.
 
In 2015, Shi decided to end his unsettled life in the city and returned home to implement his "plans" to shake off his single status.
 
First, he and his family opened a restaurant as an increasing number of tourists came to visit the idyllic village, and became a tourist guide in the village. Then he joined a kiwi fruit cooperative, as the local fruit began to gain popularity in nearby cities.
 
In 2017, a spring water factory went into operation, and he was employed as a technician.
 
By the end of last year, the village's per capita net income climbed to 10,180 yuan. More and more migrant girls chose to go home and get married. More girls from outside married local men.
 
At this year's matchmaking event in February, Shi took the courage to get on stage to introduce his village and himself to the audience.
 
"I'm not only representing myself, but the village as a whole. As life is getting better in Shibadong, I hope to marry a woman soon," he said.
 
His words touched Wu Chunxia, a girl from a nearby village who was working in Shanghai. The two added each other on WeChat, an instant messaging app.
 
Shi invited her to visit Shibadong, and the girl was deeply impressed by Shi's optimism and vigorous development of the village.
 
Before long she decided to return home and make a living with Shi. At the wedding, she received a surprise gift from the spring water factory, which accepted her as a regular employee.
 
Now Shi not only has a wife, but one more co-worker as well. A married life and a blue-collar job, he has achieved both without leaving his home village. 
 
Source: Xinhua