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Li Xiaoyun transforms a remote Chinese village Hebian

ChinaLi Xiaoyun transforms a remote Chinese village Hebian

Li Xiaoyun, a professor at China Agricultural University in Beijing, has played a significant role in transforming a remote and obscure mountainous village in southwest China’s Yunnan Province into a thriving tourist destination. His efforts have helped boost rural revitalization in the village, providing new opportunities for economic growth and cultural preservation.

The village in question, called Hebian, is home to the Yao ethnic group and is situated in the middle of tropical rainforests in Mengla county, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan. Before Li Xiaoyun’s intervention, the village was in a state of underdevelopment, with poor infrastructure and a lack of tourism appeal. However, his efforts have helped to change all that.

Today, when visitors come to Hebian, they are greeted by beautifully paved roads flanked by trees and flowers, and rows of neat wooden houses built with Yao ethnic characteristics. These developments have created a more welcoming environment for visitors, contributing to the growth of the local tourism industry. Additionally, the Yao people have also benefited from the revitalization efforts, as their traditional handicrafts and cultural practices have gained new attention from tourists.

Li Xiaoyun’s transformation of Hebian has not only helped boost tourism and economic growth in the village, but it has also contributed to the preservation of the Yao people’s cultural heritage. By promoting the use of traditional materials and building styles, he has helped ensure that the Yao people’s customs and practices are passed down to future generations. Furthermore, his efforts have also encouraged other rural areas in China to follow suit and work towards sustainable tourism development.

Li Xiaoyun’s work in transforming Hebian is an example of how the efforts of a single individual can make a significant difference in promoting rural revitalization and preserving cultural heritage. His approach has not only brought economic benefits to the village but has also helped raise awareness about the importance of sustainable tourism development and cultural preservation. It is hoped that his success in Hebian will inspire similar efforts in other rural areas in China and beyond.

It is astonishing to learn that in 2014, when Li Xiaoyun first visited the village, it was in a state of severe poverty. Livestock roamed the village, and some residents lived in run-down wooden huts. The villagers relied heavily on the weather to provide food and made most of their income through cultivating sugarcane, Wurfbainia villosa (a type of Chinese medicinal herb), and rubber trees. The average per capita disposable income of villagers was approximately 4,000 yuan ($580).

Determined to improve the villagers’ living conditions, Li Xiaoyun launched a charitable organization called the Xiaoyun Poverty Aid Center, with the aim of raising funds to combat poverty in the area. With the help of the local government, the center began to explore ways to alleviate poverty in the village.

The Xiaoyun Poverty Aid Center implemented a comprehensive strategy to tackle poverty in the village. The first step was to upgrade the village’s infrastructure, including the installation of proper roads, the construction of hygienic public toilets, and the provision of clean drinking water. The center also provided loans to farmers to purchase equipment and materials, and they received training on the latest farming techniques to increase their productivity.

The Xiaoyun Poverty Aid Center’s efforts paid off, and the villagers’ living standards improved significantly. The income from agriculture increased, and new businesses began to emerge in the village. The center also organized various training programs to encourage the development of local handicrafts, such as embroidery and weaving, which have become popular tourist souvenirs.

Through the Xiaoyun Poverty Aid Center’s efforts, Hebian village has been transformed from a poverty-stricken area to a thriving community. The center’s work has not only helped improve the economic situation of the villagers but also restored their dignity and self-respect. Moreover, the transformation of the village has sparked a renewed sense of pride and cultural preservation among the Yao people, inspiring them to continue to cherish and celebrate their traditions.

Li Xiaoyun’s vision for Hebian village did not stop with just eliminating poverty; he also wanted to promote tourism in the area by using the local rainforest resources and favorable climate. To achieve this, Li proposed building spacious Yao-style houses that could double as bed and breakfast hotels. The local government readily adopted his suggestion and used rural development funds to construct gorgeous traditional Yao-style houses equipped with modern facilities, each with high-quality guest rooms for villagers.

Li also spearheaded a facelift project for the village, which included renovating the kitchen and public restroom facilities and building meeting and catering services. The transformation of Hebian village was a massive success, and tourists flocked to see the newly refurbished village. Li ensured that the renovation maintained the original appearance of the village, and when visitors stepped into a renovated Yao-style residence, they would find modern facilities.

With its favorable climate, rainforest resources, and rich Yao ethnic culture, Hebian village was able to promote high-end bed and breakfast hotels in recent years, according to a village official. The village built 47 Yao-style B&B hotels and improved 93 infrastructure projects such as a bar and a children’s activity center.

The efforts of Li Xiaoyun and the local government were fruitful, as Hebian village was lifted out of poverty in 2018. Last year, the per capita disposable income of residents in the village reached 26,000 yuan. The village’s transformation has not only improved the economic situation of its people, but it has also helped to preserve the traditional Yao culture and enhance the locals’ pride in their heritage.

The success of Hebian village has had a significant impact on the rural revitalization movement in China, inspiring other villages to follow its model. The Xiaoyun Poverty Aid Center has become a role model for other charitable organizations, and Li’s contributions to the development of the region have been widely recognized.

Li Xiaoyun’s efforts in transforming Hebian village into a popular tourist destination have been a testament to the positive impact that rural revitalization can have on an area. His vision and leadership have helped lift the village out of poverty, promote tourism, and preserve traditional culture, setting an excellent example for other communities to follow. The people of Hebian village now have a bright and prosperous future to look forward to, thanks to Li’s dedication and commitment to the cause.

Hebian village in southwest China’s Yunnan Province has achieved remarkable success in rural revitalization. Professor Li Xiaoyun from China Agricultural University in Beijing has played a key role in transforming the remote and impoverished mountainous village into a popular tourist destination. Li’s efforts have contributed significantly to the development of the Yao ethnic group village in the region.

In 2014, when Li first visited Hebian village, it was struggling with poverty. The villagers relied on income from cultivating sugarcane, a type of Chinese medicinal herb, and rubber trees. They lived in dilapidated wooden sheds, and the annual per capita disposable income was around 4,000 yuan. Li was determined to lift the villagers out of poverty and launched a charitable organization, the Xiaoyun Poverty Aid Center, to raise funds for the purpose. With the support of the local government, they began exploring ways to alleviate poverty in the village.

Li suggested developing tourism by leveraging the local rainforest resources and climate conditions. He recommended building spacious houses with Yao ethnic characteristics that could also be used as B&B hotels. The local government adopted his advice, and they used funds for rural development to build gorgeous traditional Yao-style houses equipped with modern facilities. The facelift project of the village included improving kitchen facilities and public restroom facilities, and building facilities for meetings and catering services.

Hebian village has now promoted the development of high-end B&B hotels by fully leveraging its climate conditions, rainforest resources, and Yao ethnic culture. They have built 47 Yao-style B&B hotels and improved 93 infrastructure projects, such as a bar and a children’s activity center. Thanks to the joint efforts of Li and the local government, Hebian village was lifted out of poverty in 2018. Last year, the per capita disposable income of residents in the village reached 26,000 yuan.

In the march toward rural revitalization, no one is left behind in Hebian village. Li and the local government built a house for Pan Sanie, a deaf-mute woman who lost her husband and son, and who was struggling to make a living by growing corn and raising pigs. In April 2017, Pan’s guest room was put into use, bringing in annual revenue of more than 10,000 yuan for her. Pan also attended training sessions organized by the local government aimed at improving the villagers’ skills in providing better catering and tourism services. Now, in addition to raising pigs and chickens, she plants fruit trees and vegetables and earns over 2,000 yuan a month.

The development of the B&B hotel industry has been a significant boost to the local economy in Hebian village, but Li Xiaoyun believes that a more diversified approach is necessary for sustainable growth. He encourages villagers to cultivate tropical crops, Chinese medicinal herbs, and raise livestock to create multiple sources of income and increase resilience during slow tourism seasons.

For Li, the key to rural revitalization lies in the people of the village. He places great importance on cultivating young people’s interests and skills to ensure that they are willing to work or start businesses in their hometown. He aims to provide a platform that encourages them to contribute to their community’s development.

Zhou Zhixue, a villager who had been working in Shenzhen city, returned to Hebian to help his family build a new house. After seeing the transformation led by Li’s team, Zhou decided to stay and contribute to his hometown’s development. When Li’s team established a cooperative and transferred the management rights of the B&B hotel project to villagers, Zhou joined the cooperative and was appointed general manager. With the help of Zhou and volunteer university students, young people in the village have been able to acquire computer skills.

In addition to encouraging young people to participate in the community’s development, Li has also helped train villagers to provide better catering and tourism services. He believes that it is essential to diversify the village’s products and increase income levels by planting crops and raising livestock. Through these measures, villagers can better prepare for economic downturns that may arise due to fluctuations in tourism.

Hebian village’s success story in poverty reduction and rural revitalization has not only attracted the attention of locals but has also gained international attention. The village has become a model for poverty reduction, and people from all over Yunnan and even other countries, such as Nigeria, have come to learn from its experience.

Many young people from Hebian have returned home and contributed to the development of their hometown. The professor’s emphasis on cultivating young people in the village and encouraging them to work or start a business in their hometown has played a significant role in this success.

Harford Michael Kenechukwu, a Nigerian doctoral student at the Zhou Enlai School of Government of Nankai University, visited the village and recognized its poverty reduction experience as valuable for his home country, Nigeria, and Africa. Hebian village’s success in poverty alleviation through tourism development and diversified local industries serves as an example for other countries to learn from.

With more and more people visiting Hebian village to study its experience in poverty reduction, the village has become a significant attraction for rural tourism. Its success has opened doors for further collaboration between China and other countries in poverty reduction and rural revitalization.

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