Xi Focus: Improved rural transport paves way for prosperity
July 08,2021   By:Xinhua
BEIJING, July 8, 2021 -- Shortly ahead of New Year's Day in 2014, some people from Gongshan County in southwest China's Yunnan Province wrote to President Xi Jinping to report that the Gaoligong Mountains-Dulongjiang River highway tunnel was about to be completed.
Dulongjiang Township in Gongshan County is home to the Dulong ethnic minority group, and people there had long endured poverty in the deep isolated gorges of the Dulongjiang River. Hopes were high for the tunnel to bring change.
Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has since kept in mind the county's accessibility.
During an inspection tour to Yunnan one year later, Xi specifically asked to meet with the people who had written to him to learn about the progress of the highway tunnel and people's lives in the area.
Before the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, it would take locals two weeks to make return trips between the village and the Gongshan County seat. The time was reduced to about a week after a postal road was built after 1949. In 1999, a full road was built and people could travel from the village to the county seat within seven to eight hours. With the tunnel being put into use, the same journey now takes just three hours.
As the only route linking the village to the outside world, the tunnel also brought in tourists from afar, allowing locals to ride on the development of tourism to escape poverty.
In 2018, the Dulong people were all lifted out of poverty.
Now that a complete victory over absolute poverty has been secured nationwide, the country starts a new mission of rural vitalization. Improved roads and transport will continue to play a key role in this endeavor.
As Xi said during an inspection tour to central China's Hunan Province in November 2013, it is important for poverty-stricken areas to improve their transportation conditions and infrastructure in order to shake off poverty and set out on the road to prosperity.
For some impoverished areas which are often in want of basic infrastructures, the building of a new bridge or a section of road can empower local people to strive for a better life.
Jihaoyeqiu, a villager in southwest China's Sichuan Province, still remembers vividly the moment when he saw Xi, three years ago, pass through his low courtyard gate and walk into his house after a trek along the winding mountain trail.
The ramshackle house was perched on a hill in Sanhe Village of the mountainous Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, where economic and social development was lagging due to poor traffic and lack of resources.
"Not even a single ethnic group or a single family shall be left behind on the road to a moderately prosperous society in all respects," said Xi while talking with the villagers.
In recent years, local roads have been rebuilt and the appearance of the village has been completely transformed. Jihaoyeqiu says the muddy road Xi once walked on is now paved with asphalt.
With open roads and developing industries, local agricultural products such as potatoes, peppers and walnuts have been sold to areas beyond the mountains, and the income of villagers has increased year after year.
China's rural roads currently total 4.2 million km in length. The country is not simply pursuing an increase in its rural road mileage, but is striving to promote the integration of transportation construction, resource development and industrial development in rural areas to better serve rural vitalization.
The construction of rural roads is in line with rural economic development, as well as safe and convenient travel for the majority of rural residents.
Through institutional innovation and policy improvements, efforts will also be made to further improve the construction, management, protection and operation of rural roads, and gradually eliminate the traffic bottlenecks restricting rural development.
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