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(CPC Centenary) Across China: Impoverished woman embraces new life after relocation

//english.dbw.cn  Author:  Source:xinhua  Editor:Yang Fan  2021-02-12 15:16:41

Bai Xiyan has been busy packing parcels and livestreaming products for an e-commerce workshop in the days leading up to the Spring Festival, which falls on Feb. 12 this year.

To handle the surging number of orders during the online shopping bonanza, Bai and her colleagues at the workshop in Minning Township, northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, sometimes have to work until 11 p.m. on their night shift.

Yet the 35-year-old said she is more than satisfied with her job, which gives her a sense of achievement and earns her more than 3,000 yuan (about 466.5 U.S. dollars) per month to support her family of three after their relocation from Xihaigu. It was one of China's most impoverished areas until recent years.

Xihaigu was labeled the "most unfit place for human settlement" by the United Nations in the 1970s due to land reclamation, drought, and fragile ecological environments.

Bai recalled that her previous daily routine in a village in Xihaigu was to go up into the mountains to collect firewood and use a shoulder pole and two buckets to carry water from the village's only well back home. Back then, her husband had to find jobs in big cities to make ends meet.

However, their plight got even worse when Bai's husband was severely injured in an accident and lost the ability to do heavy work not long after the birth of their daughter.

To pay her husband's medical bills, Bai had no choice but to borrow money from their relatives. She later found a job at a construction site in a nearby city -- moving bricks and painting walls -- to pay off the debt.

"It was the darkest days for me because I could only see my girl a few times a year," she said. "I thought my life was doomed."

Things turned around for Bai's family in 2014 when they joined a government-led relocation project to move to Minning Township, close to the city of Yinchuan, the regional capital. Along with over 60,000 Xihaigu residents, they were granted new houses and better facilities.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) and government departments at various levels supported the establishment of several poverty-relief workshops, such as mushroom cultivation and textile production, to help the relocated residents find jobs near their new homes.

The all-female, e-commerce workshop that Bai works for was established in 2019 and has enrolled more than 40 women from poverty-stricken families to sell local specialties online.

The workers, mostly illiterate, have been trained to use computers and conduct livestreaming sessions, said Xu Meijia, the manager of the workshop and a CPC member.

The job at the workshop, the first real job for many of the workers, has helped them earn more money and boosted their self-confidence, Xu said. "They have certainly become more confident and have many fans on the shopping platforms. They are now used to wearing trendy clothes and talking loudly," she said.

"The job has helped me pay off debt, buy new clothes for my family, and expand our home to an eight-room house. Now I'm saving money to open a supermarket," Bai said. "I also have the money to pay for my daughter's dance lessons. I just hope she can live the life that she dreams of."

In December last year, Xihaigu won its anti-poverty battle after decades-long efforts, with all its nine impoverished counties and districts removed from the national poverty list.

Xihaigu's success offers a window into China's nationwide poverty relief efforts, to which the CPC has attached great importance. Official data showed that more than 700 million people in the country have been lifted out of poverty over the past 40-plus years of reform and opening-up, contributing to more than 70 percent of global poverty reduction.

By the end of 2020, nearly 100 million impoverished rural residents nationwide had escaped poverty since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012. All 832 national-level poverty-stricken counties had shaken off poverty. Enditem