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Xi's village tours assure poverty reduction
December 29,2016   By:Xinhua
BEIJING, Dec. 29, 2016 -- Residents in Luotuowan village have a busy winter this year. They are building new houses and new roads, a scene never seen in these parts before.
 
"In past winters, elders just squatted at their house gates to enjoy sunshine with hands buried in sleeves, and some laborers climbed up hills to collect firewood," said Gu Runjin, 68, a Party official in the mountain village in Hebei Province.
 
"The traditional restful winter has become a busy one," he said.
 
Deep in the Taihang Mountains, Fuping County, which administers Luotuowan village, has been under a national poverty reduction program since the mid-1990s. In 2013, the county's registered poverty-stricken population was around 110,000, or 48 percent of its total.
 
Great changes started taking place in this remote village after a visit by Xi Jinping in December 2012, shortly after he was elected general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.
 
During his 2012 trip to the county, Xi told officials to work hard to help villagers in poverty live a better life as soon as possible.
 
NEW HOMES NEW LIVES
 
Tang Rongbin, 73, from Luotuowan, and Gu Chenghu, 65, from Gujiatai village, were both visited by Xi in 2012 and then had had their homes rebuilt and living standards improved.
 
"My current living conditions are almost the same as someone living in the city. I used to live in a clay house and was not accustomed to my new home when I moved in," Gu said. His new house has four bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen.
 
Since 2013 Gu and his son have been working in construction in the village, earning 200 yuan (29 U.S. dollars) per day. They also receive 4,000 yuan per year to rent their farmland.
 
Tang Rongbin's house was renovated with a government fund.
 
"I never dreamed of living in such a house before," he said. He rents three rooms of his house to a tourism company.
 
Farmers in Luotuowan no longer cultivate the traditional crops of potato and corn, once their major income source. Instead, they grow apple trees and mushrooms, with investment from two companies. This brings more income in the form of rents, salaries and bonuses from the two firms.
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