Aeria photo taken on Feb. 26, 2019 shows villager Duan Guiying (front) cleaning a road in the scenic spot of Niangziguan Village, Niangziguan Town, Pingding County, north China's Shanxi Province. The women of Niangziguan Town have played a vital role in developing local tourism industry under a poverty alleviation campaign. (Xinhua/Cao Yang)
In north China's Shanxi Province, there lies a number of ancient villages boasting histories of over 1,000 years. As China completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, villages are glowing with new vitality.
Boat trackers in Niangniangtan Village were once a symbol of poverty along the Yellow River, the second-longest river in China. And Niangniangtan Village is the only inhabited island along the river.
Li Sihan, 71, was among the boat trackers of the village. When he was young, he used to transport sulfur from northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on the other side of the river and made less than 300 yuan (about 47.1 U.S. dollars) a year.
Nowadays, the last generation of Yellow River boat trackers have bid farewell to poverty and lived a well-off life in a new village not far away.
Before 2017, there were 21 impoverished households in Niangniangtan Village, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the population. Thanks to China's poverty alleviation policy, Li and his fellow villagers have shaken off poverty.
Li and his wife are now benefiting from subsistence allowances, endowment insurance and income from the village's photovoltaic power generation, which adds up to over 10,000 yuan a year.
Also, the tourism development of Niangniangtan Village has been included in the "14th Five-Year Plan" of Hequ County, where the village was located, and a tourist highway by the village along the Yellow River will soon be completed and open to traffic.
In Shenxi Village, Datong City, the precious cultural heritage and good ecological condition have become a strong driving force to consolidate the road to a well-off society.
With an over 1,500-year-old temple and an over 300-hectare wetland park, the village attracts tourists across the country every year. In the past four years, the local government has invested more than 10 million yuan to revitalize this 1,000-year-old village.
Zhao Ling, 38, was a housewife whose family of four depended on her husband's income from transporting coal. Since more tourists travel to the village, she decided to start a business by making bean jelly, a famous local snack, three years ago. During the tourist rush seasons, she is able to earn extra 30,000 yuan in three months.
This popular appetizer is helping more villagers earn money. The per capita annual net income of the village reached 10,200 yuan last year, village official Yang Xiaoyuan said.
Niangziguan Village, a famous tourist attraction beneath the Great Wall, which has achieved a well-off life three years ago, is now focusing more on green development and common prosperity, said village official Yang Wenbao.
In 2018, the tourism income of the village exceeded 20 million yuan, with more than 500 villagers participating in tourism development. The village's per capita annual net income is about 18,000 yuan, according to Yang.
Tourism also attracts young people to return home to start businesses. Shuai Zhongcheng, a truck driver, quit his coal-transport job four years ago and returned to his hometown to start a guesthouse business. Before the COVID-19 epidemic, his annual income reached more than 200,000 yuan.
"We will continue to expand tourism, help more villagers find jobs at their hometown, and solidly promote common prosperity," Yang said.
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